The Novelist’s Film Review- Hong Sangsoo’s 2022 genius!

The Novelists’ Film 2022 is a retrospective project into the art of making Cinema from scratch. Not necessarily in the conventional order but what substantiates the film is its life-like approach. Jun-Hee, an established author has a coincidentally eventful day meeting friends and acquaintances alike. The Novelist’s Film review shares how the Korean countryside accompanied by countless conversations shot in black and white brings forth the essence of reality.

Forming imagery through interaction- The Novelist’s film review

Hong Sangsoo’s films are not characterized by dialogue or story but by moments. What we mean by that is the subtlety and genuine curious fervor that serves into constructing each scene. The conversations in the film do not feel very different from our own. There however lies distance enough to observe and experience another’s culture and life. A primary tool of cinema lies in its ability to put the viewer on a neutral chair, and activate the third eye. Hong Sangsoo films are precisely about that.

The day is still bright,

but soon it grows dark.

While the day lingers,

let’s enjoy a nice walk.

Jun Hee, The Novelist’s film
Jun-Hee and Hyun-woo create visual imagery in The Novelist's film Review
Jun-Hee and Hyun-woo create visual imagery in The Novelist’s film

The lines above appear as Jun-Hee and Hyun-woo create together arguably one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. Hyun-woo ( played by Park Mi-so) is a former theater practitioner and a current apprentice in sign languages. She enacts the lines in gestures that account for the syntagmatic flow of poetry. The movements are almost literal simplifications of thought. Although nothing spectacular in nature, the expression is an insight into all that is seldom found.

Of construction and harmony

Although the very nature of cinematic construction is difficult and at times almost impossible to assess, it is a given that each filmmaker possesses such methods as distinguished to one that leads to building cinematic imagery. All this is to hint at a set of observations in The Novelist’s film 2022, that speak of the specifics of the film’s atmosphere.

The scenes don't cut at brief meetings...
The scenes don’t cut at brief meetings…

Indeed shot in black in white, the visual does not wreak pathos or grimace. One can go so far as to comment that colorlessness incorporates a certain sense of warmth and familiarity. The scenes don’t cut at brief meetings but are prolonged by the mundaneness of natural conversations.

the goodbyes are not gut-wrenching (The Novelist's film Review)
… the goodbyes are not gut-wrenching (The Novelist’s film Review)

The interactions although brief in this Hong Sang-soo film, are not followed by typical good-byes that are gut-wrenching. Instead, each farewell is civil, polite, and a constituent of humane connectivity. The viewing experience at this point is not limited to the profoundness of the screen and the construction of film devices. By introducing what appears to be a very natural flow of events, one is not just made to be more involved but even more aware.

The projection of a journey …

The title of the film itself boils down to translating its entire premise. The Novelist Kim Junhee has decided to make a film of her own at a chance encounter with the once-popular actress Kilsoo (played by Kim Min-hee). Having met the director Hyojin and his wife, Junhee has rekindled her fondness for cinema. Together they come across Kilsoo taking a walk in the winter afternoon.

Running into the actress Kilsoo (The Novelist's film review)
Running into the actress Kilsoo (The Novelist’s film review)

The film is composed of interesting analogies at various turns. For instance, Junhee points out how it is not a waste of one’s talent as Hyojin blames Kilsoo for having retired from her acting career. The film also showcases various instances of sharing food, especially to introduce a human touch to communication. It is how Junhee and Kilsoo enjoy their Tteok-bokki and Gimbap while discussing the specifics of their film. It sets the premise for the simultaneous gathering of all the former characters in the film.

Conversations over Tteok-bokki and Gimbap in The Novelist's film review
Conversations over Tteok-bokki and Gimbap in The Novelist’s film

Conclusion to The Novelist’s film

The film ends with the Novelist finally having a screening of her own film. Kilsoo appears for the screening and the visuals are abundant with surreal imagery. The Novelist has finally turned into a director and is not shown in the most conventional of ways. Instead, one can understand that it is through chance meetings and gradual interactions that one can tread on a path of their own.

Junhee has made her big shift but nobody knows what the future holds. As viewers, we never get to know what Junhee’s film is actually about, but The Novelist’s film certainly dwells on the process of constructing the same.

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