Hong Sang Soo reflects on the film and himself in ‘Walk Up’

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

San Sebastian, September 22 (EFE). – Hong Sang Soo undressed in his own way in “Walk Up,” a curious (and funny) black-and-white reflection of his take on cinema and artistic creation, which he offers as a temporary experiment and three different personalities of a character, a filmmaker who could make you think that he himself.

“I never try to make a film that is an autobiography of the author “per se”, I don’t shoot a single scene in which I try to reproduce what happened in my life, but I try to collect the things that I lived. or heard.

Although, probably, “everything comes from me, the approach is fragmentary, these are scattered fragments of my life since I was in my twenties,” he added at a press conference, at which he appeared surrounded by his main characters.

Nominated eleven times in Cannes, ten times in Berlin where he won three Silver Bears, this is the fourth time the Korean master has come to Donostia, this time participating in the official selection for the second time; In 2016, he received the Silver Shell for Best Director for “Lo tú y tú”.

True to his style, Hong filmed “Walk Up” from subsequent scripts he delivered to his actors and actresses on a daily basis. He realizes that part of his life is contained in these texts, but only as pieces of thirty or forty years ago, like what happened to him yesterday.

“In this film there are fragments of my conversation with the actors in the month of April; Someone will think that I am lazy and just plagiarize their performances, but it seemed to me very suitable material, ”he explains.

Kim Min Hee, who has a small role in the film, is a very young actress who is also a producer. This is his second film under such conditions. “Compared to other directors, working with Hong makes me feel something new and it’s a lot of fun,” says the producer, who admits that, as an actress in Hong’s films, “she really needs to drink a little.”

This is another distinguishing feature of the director. His characters constantly discuss bottles of alcohol, in this “Walk Up” it’s wine, but other times it’s not, laughs Kwon Hae-Hyo, the lead actor, who also claims to drink real alcohol on set, “but not to get drunk, I concentrate much more,” he admits.

“I know that other actors don’t drink, but I drink,” he shares, and assures me that the best way to shoot with Hong is to not cook anything, for me it’s like going on a trip.

Kwon is Byungsoo, a film director who goes with his daughter Jeongsoo, an aspiring interior designer, to a building owned by an old friend to show her around and help her settle in. She has just bought a building, three floors of which are rented out to various artists; she reserves the basement as a workshop and recreation area.

The three of them are talking and drinking at their first meeting when Byungsoo is away on a business call. But when he returns, it is the same place, but at a different time, and the owner of the house invites him to the second floor. Temporary equipment is complicated due to the fact that different Byungsoo are very different from each other.

He enjoys meat, constantly smokes and – allegedly – that the crazy life makes him sick; the other is a vegetarian who has quit smoking vapers and drinks almost nothing but water. The third saw God on the roof of his apartment and is no longer afraid.

“I think these three are very close to me,” assured the director of “On the Beach Alone at Night” (2017), for whom dialogue is important, but images are more important. “Words can help with a more compressed period, they can create rhythm and give humor,” although he did not stop thinking about how much dialogue he writes and why, he does not think he should analyze it either.

And he shot it in black and white and at a great cost savings because he loves it and because, as his first self explains, there are “a lot of unnecessary structural costs” in other films.

Thus, he produces his own films with the help of one or two producers such as Kim Min Hee. “I tried to minimize this whole system, sometimes the producer can take the microphone, and I pay very little to these great actresses,” he said, a little jokingly. I shoot six or seven times and use natural locations, the cost is very low, but this is how I can shoot my films.”

For her part, actress Jo Yoon Hee remarked, “This director’s style is really different. You never know what will happen to him.”

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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