San Sebastián, Sep 22 (EFE).- Hong Sangsoo undressed in his own way in “Walk Up”, a curious (and funny) reflection in black and white on his way of seeing cinema and the artistic creation that he proposes as a temporary experience and three different personalities of a character, a director, who could suggest that he is himself.
“I never try to make a film that is an autobiography of the author ‘in itself’, I don’t shoot any scene in which I try to reproduce what happened in my life, but I try to collect things that I have experienced or heard.”
Even if probably “everything comes from me, the approach is fragmented, they are scattered fragments of my life, since I was in my twenties”, he added during a press conference to which he appeared surrounded by his main actors.
Eleven times nominated at Cannes, ten at Berlin, where he won three Silver Bears, this is the fourth time that the Korean master has come to Donostia, this time competing for the second time in the Official Selection; In 2016, he won the Silver Shell for best director for “Lo tú y tú”.
True to his style, Hong shot “Walk Up” with scripts that he delivered daily to his actors and actresses. He recognizes that part of his life is in these texts, but just like pieces of thirty or forty years ago, like things that happened to him yesterday.
“In this film, there are excerpts from a conversation I had with the actors in April; Some will think I’m lazy and just plagiarizing their speeches, but it felt like very appropriate material,” he explains.
Kim Minhee, who has a small role in the film, is a very young actress who is also producing. This is his second film under these conditions. “Compared to other directors, working with Hong makes me feel new things and it’s very fun”, says the producer who recognizes that as an actress in Hong’s films, “she needs to drink a little alcohol”.
This is another hallmark of the director. His characters constantly share conversations over liquor bottles, in this “Walk Up” it’s wine, but other times it’s not, jokes Kwon Hae-Hyo, the main actor , who also claims to drink real alcohol on set, “but so as not to get drunk, I concentrate a lot more,” he admits.
“I know other actors don’t drink, but I do,” he shares, and assures that the best way to shoot with Hong “the key is not to prep anything, for me it’s like making a travel”.
Kwon is Byungsoo, a director who travels with his daughter Jeongsu, an aspiring interior designer, to a building owned by an old friend to show him around and help him settle in. She has just bought a building whose three floors are rented to various artists; she reserves the basement as a workshop and resting place.
The three talk and drink during their first meeting, when Byungsoo is away on a work call. But when he returns, it’s at the same place, but at a different time, and the owner of the building invites him to go up to the second floor. The temporary contraption gets complicated with various Byungsoos very different from each other.
We love meat, we smoke constantly and – supposedly – this crazy life makes you sick; another is a vegetarian, has quit smoking to vape and only drinks water. The third saw God on the roof of his apartment and is no longer afraid.
“I think they are all three very close to me”, assured the director of “Alone on the beach at night” (2017) for whom the dialogues are important, but the images are more important. “Words can help in a more condensed period, they can create rhythm and give humor”, although he didn’t stop to think about how much dialogue he writes or why, but he does think nor that he should analyze it.
And he shot it in black and white and with a great economy of means, because he likes it and because, as his first “I” explains, in other films “there is a lot of expense unnecessary structures”.
Thus, he produces his own films with the help of one or two producers like Kim Minhee. “I tried to minimize this whole system, sometimes a producer can take the mic, and I pay these great actresses very little,” he said a little jokingly. I shoot six or seven times and I use natural locations, the cost is very low, but that way I can shoot my films”.
For her part, actress ChoYun-hee pointed out that “the style of this director is really different. You never know what’s going to happen with him.”