Sunday 15 March 2020

Claire's Camera [2017]

Claire’s Camera has Hong Sang-soo’s signature all over it; and yet, it also was distinctively Rohmersque in its breezy, conversational and gently affecting tone and style, set against a sunny European locale which added a degree of levity to the complication and confusion of human emotions; and, not to mention, the title reminds one of Claire’s Knee, even if the two aren’t related. That said, it was also decidedly slight, and hence might not really rank among Hong’s more memorable ventures. Set in Cannes of all places, it comprised of three suffering expat Koreans and one quirky French woman – Jeon (Kim Min-hee) is a young, reflective lady into film sales who’s recently got fired by her emotionally wrought boss Nam (Chang Mi-hee) who, while doing so, cites the cryptic reason that the former is dishonest even if she’s a good-natured person; as it gets eventually revealed, Nam has a rather overpossessive relationship with So (Jung Jin-young), a well-known filmmaker, a self-professed alcoholic and who’s had a fling with with Jeon (and perhaps still carries a torch for her); and, while they’re in the city largely whiling their time, an unexpected link develops in the form of the titular Claire (Isabelle Huppert), a cheerful, friendly and freewheeling amateur photographer. Honesty, or its lack thereof – in a person, and in turn in cinema too – formed the key motif of this unassuming movie, with generous helpings of serendipity thrown in. The light-footed sing-song narrative, interestingly, didn’t proceed linearly; rather, it was deliberately made jagged and rambling, and that added a sense of comic mystery in deciphering where each piece fits, while also providing insights into what one might’ve already seen.

Director: Hong Sang-soo
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

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