In Front of Your Face
Prolific Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo delivers one of his most emotionally accessible and witty films, with this tale of a Korean actor who returns home.
Lee Hyeyoung plays Sangok, a well-known 1990s Korean screen star who moved to the US. She has returned home, claiming to want to see her family. She stays with her sister Jeongok (Cho Yunhee), whom she knows little about. She also meets with an acclaimed Korean director (Kwon Haehyo). Elsewhere, the film is mostly comprised of seemingly uneventful moments, punctuated with small talk and throwaway lines. And yet, something clearly troubles Sangok, perhaps even the reason for her return home. Gradually, Hong peels the layers of artifice away to reveal his character’s true motivations.
Hong’s second film in a year (and his 26th in as many years), In Front of Your Face is a marked contrast to his recent fare, which has mostly been shot in black and white, or with a limited palette. Here, colour often dominates, which sets the mood – a lighter tone for the filmmaker. Likewise, Lee’s commanding performance offsets shades of melancholy with warm humour and a laugh that underpins the film’s recognition of the absurdities that life can throw at us.