Films / In Another Country (Da-Reun Na-Ra-E-Suh)
South Korea | Narrative Feature | 2012 | 89 min
Director: Sang-soo Hong
Awards: Palme d’Or Nominee-Cannes 2012
Korean and English
Film source: Kino Lorber
To distract herself from money worries, a young film student sketches out three different versions of a script featuring an elegant, slightly haughty Frenchwoman (naturally, Huppert) who comes to Mohang. In the first version, she is a visiting film director; in the second, a woman having an affair with a Korean film director and in the third, she is a single woman whose husband has deserted her for a Korean man, and now she seeks guidance from a monk. We of course see these three variations acted out on screen, interspersed with scenes showing the woman scribbling: it is a little like Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda.
Hong Sang-soo is one of Korea’s most highly regarded contemporary directors. His mostly improvised, innovatively constructed films conceal rich layers of meaning beneath deceptively simple surfaces, and reveal a filmmaker with a unique, individual style. According to him, Huppert’s casting happened when they were drinking makgeolli at a restaurant in Seoul, a place that has often appeared in his films. Not expecting much, and in a casual tone that may have even sounded like a joke, he spoke to Huppert. “I’m about to start a new film. Nothing about it has been decided yet. Would you like to be in it?” Then came an astonishing reaction from her: “Yes!” Huppert replied without even a second of hesitation. “The film came to be what it is now when Isabelle decided to join it,” says Hong. Hong tends to work the same way in most of his films: starting with the place, finding the people, and only then, writing the script.