South Korean director and festival regular Hong Sang-Soo’s latest film “Hill of Freedom” is slated to screen at three of the major fall-season festivals —the Venice Film Festival, which kicked off yesterday, the Toronto International Film Festival, starting next week, and the New York International Film Festival in late September. The filmmaker, who typically specializes in intimate portraits of confused, lovelorn souls, sticks to his wheelhouse here, telling the story of a young Japanese man who travels to South Korea to find a woman he loves who won’t answer his letters.
In the trailer and clips, we see the protagonist wandering this foreign country where he once lived, engaging various natives, but failing to track down the woman he came for. What Hong lacks in sophisticated editing and sound, he makes up for in a whimsical sensibility and an understanding of what makes people tick.
The scenes range from humorous, such as a funny interaction between the main character and his bed and breakfast host, who likes Japanese people because they are clean and polite, to painful, as in a moment when the protagonist drunkenly tries to explain to a happily married man why he has come to Korea. Watch below.