The Woman Who Ran press conference: Improvisation, affairs, and storytelling
Parasite‘s recent Oscar glory was not well-regarded by all. Speaking at a Colorado rally in February, US president Donald Trump took aim at director Bong Joon-ho’s win, saying, “The winner is… a movie from South Korea. What the hell was all that about?” Although much of the world’s movie-going population might have only just noticed South Korea’s cinematic offerings, the country is prolific in terms of its local output. Much of that output can be credited directly to director Hong Sang-soo, who has 24 features under his belt. Number 24 is Domangchin yeoja (The Woman Who Ran), which premieres at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival.
Known for his minimalist aesthetic (which is a considerable understatement), Hong described his semi-improvised, spontaneous approach, saying: “When I start shooting, I don’t have a complete idea in terms of a structure or narrative. I just start with some idea that I feel I want to start with, and see what happens in terms of how I respond, and what comes out of that response.”
Hong was embroiled in a minor controversy in South Korea when it emerged that he had been having an affair with actress Kim Min-hee, which began when she appeared in his 2015 film Right Now, Wrong Then. She has since become his partner and muse, and takes the leading role in Domangchin yeoja. Talking about the improvisational nature of Hong’s work, the actress said: “We have the screenplay, and the dialogue between the actors, and the reactions that we elicit from one another – we respond to them with great sensitivity, and then emotions arise, and changes happen.”
Hong said that he deliberately avoids traditional form when it comes to storytelling: “Life, or being, always far surpasses any generalisation. So the way I approach it, in terms of making a film, is that I try to push away all kinds of generalisations, all kinds of technique, all kinds of expectations about a certain effect, and just believe in myself that these things that come to me will be the right ones.”
Photo: Hong Sang-soo, © Berlinale
The Woman Who Ran does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2020 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch highlights of the The Woman Who Ran press conference here: