The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Day 8 – Hong Sang-soo’s “Hill of Freedom”

Hill_of_Freedom_01Hong Sang-soo, more like Hong San-soooo good! Am I right or am I right? To give credit where credit is due, whether she wants it or not, that little pun on the director’s name was told to me by a co-worker whose name shall remain anonymous. I thought it was rather clever (and corny) and was actually quite bummed I hadn’t thought of it myself, especially haven seen and loved other movies by Sang-soo.

Sometimes all I want out of an international film festival film is to have a good laugh with warm good festival friends over good broken second-language English speaking characters who themselves are having good laughs with good company over good drinks and good conversation. Wouldn’t you know it Hill of Freedom is exactly that. It’s 66 minutes of, you guessed it, sweet sweet goodness.

Unlike my day 7 post where I griped over what I thought to be a misleading comparison being made to a Jim Jarmusch made film, in this case the comparison is actually quite apt. Hill of Freedom is about a “clean and polite” (words from a kind-natured stereo-typing Korean character, not mine) Japanese man in Korea, and features a lot of conversations between characters who don’t speak each others’ native language, so naturally, just as in every Jarmusch film, and every Hong Sang-soo film that I’ve seen thus far, observations on communication, or lack there of, are going to be made, and often to hilarious effect. As an added bonus, due to an unconventional narrative structure (which, I won’t spoil for you), the film has this warm tone of existentialism attached to it. It’s a tone that left me feeling as though I just spent my time having my soul massaged. And speaking of massages, why is it every time I visit the press lounge I miss the massage students given away their free massages? Oh, the woes of film festival life.

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Categories: Reviews, San Francisco International Film Festival

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