While most people have probably never heard of him, Hong Sang-soo will be a familiar name to cinephiles across the world. For decades now, the Korean filmmaker has been one of the darlings of the festival circuit, winning numerous awards along the way. Including the Golden and Silver Bears at Berlin, Un Certain Regard at Cannes and the Golden Leopard at Locarno. His new film, In Front of Your Face, covers familiar ground.
Sangok (Lee Hye-yeong) was once an actress but gave it all up and moved to the United States with a man she barely knew. She lost touch with her family back in Seoul, so it’s a bit of a shock for her sister (Yunhee Cho) when out of the blue, years later, she comes to visit. Sangok slowly reacclimatises to Korean life and the pair become closer again, but Jeongok doesn’t quite understand why she’s meeting with a young film director (Hae-hyo Kwon) to discuss a new project.
You know what you’re getting with a new Hong Sang-soo film and In Front of Your Face doesn’t disappoint. It covers much of the same territory he’s been exploring throughout his career. Characters who operate within the film industry, domestic settings, quotidian life and extended shots all feature heavily. In Front of Your Face does feel more focussed and purposeful, with an extra sting in the tale. As usual, it’s a pleasure spending time in his world, however fleeting it may be.
In Front of Your Face is out in UK cinemas on 23 September.