Friday 26 March 2021

The Woman Who Ran [2020]

 The Woman Who Ran – with its meandering flow, rambling conversations, low-key style, subjective POV, and romantic relationships existing at various stages of dysfunction – possessed all the distinctive traits of Hong’s filmography. And, while it might’ve appeared to be low on meta-narrative and self-referential elements, it had a bit of that too; one of the characters absentmindedly opines about her writer husband, “If he just repeats himself, how can that be sincere?”, which didn’t just inadvertently allude to the film’s protagonist Gam-hee (Kim Min-hee) who keeps repeating to all her friends – with a deadpan air of insincere make-believe – the same story of undiminished love that she shares with her husband, but perhaps on a sardonic note to the director’s oeuvre too. The episodic narrative was loosely structured into three parts wherein Gam-hee – seemingly making use of her “me time” as her husband is apparently on a business trip – connects with her old friends. In the first chapter she visits Young-soon (Seo Young-hwa), who’s divorced and shares her apartment at a picturesque Seoul suburb with a female flatmate; in the middle chapter she visits Sou-young (Song Seon-mi), who’s having an affair with a guy who incidentally resides in the same building. And, in the final chapter, she has an unplanned reunion with an estranged friend (Kim Saebyuk) married to Gam-hee’s ex-boyfriend. The movie’s outwardly placid happenings – albeit, with gently simmering undercurrents – were often punctuated with wryly funny moments, be it a hilariously courteous argument with a man who’s wife has an aversion to cats, or Young-soon’s dramatic fight with a younger guy who keeps pursuing her; or Gam-hee sharing an awkward smoke with her visibly flustered former lover.


Director: Hong Sang-soo

Genre: Drama/Buddy Film

Language: Korean

Country: South Korea

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