By Sascha Krieger
Inteurodeoksyeon (Competition / Republic of Korea / Director: Hong Sangsoo)
A young man, a young woman. In almost timeless black and white, a distant memory, a casual story told. By whom? Who knows. Three episodes does Hong Sangsoo build around the pair. Momentary glimpses the spaces between them the viewer has to fill. The stories remain sketchy, much to guess. It’s a film about the unknowable, the other person, that enigmatic being. As so often with Hong, the camera pretends to be a neutral observer but really shapes our view. Subtle zooms, slow moves from one face to the other, it accentuates, loneliness, distance. A film not directly commenting on but being informed by the pandemic. There is just one real physical touch, right at the end, a necessary one, almost apologetic. But it sets the screen on fire, highlighting what is missing in these lives dominated by the unspoken, the unspeakable, by a never-ending series of constant withdrawal. The other remains distant. Is she looking at us, two friemds wonder when spotting one of their mothers in the distance. They don’t try and find out. Don’t bother her, the son says. Just 66 minutes long, Hong’s film is an essay on the human condistion, a semi-abstract poem, a sketchy study on the lengths we go to not to bother each other. Until it explodes in an uncalled for embrace. Black and white magic, a sigh, a cry for love. A humble masterpiece.