The Woman Who Runaway is split into three stories, each of which has the protagonist Gum-hee (Kim Min-hee) dating different girlfriends. The first one lives on the outskirts of the city and keeps chickens.
The second is a fitness instructor who talks about her reckless romance with a young man. The third one works in a cinema and is married to Pink sparklesex-boyfriend.
The first two meetings are scheduled, the third is “accidental”: the girl pretends to just walk by. In general, the fact is that Gum-hee has been married for five years already. And all this time she did not part with her husband for a day.
She tells her friends about this either with pride or with regret. As a result, viewers understand that her marriage is not so rosy – there are reasons to escape.
The film In Another Country (2012) also has a three-part structure.
And again, the three stories are united by one heroine – a young Korean woman who writes down her thoughts in a notebook. Out of idleness, she imagines various situations, the heroine of which invariably turns out to be the same woman (or not the same one?) Named Anna (Isabelle Huppert).
She came to a resort in the seaside province of Mahana. In the first novel, Anna is a French director who is jealous of her husband (Kwon Hae-hee) a pregnant woman. In the second, Anna is cheating on her jealous husband with a Korean director. In the third, she is a divorced woman who was abandoned by a rich husband for a younger Korean woman.
The main characters are women
As you can see, in the world of Hon San-su, women are often given the lead. In The Woman Who Escaped, we see a whole gallery of female images. Heroines, as is often the case with Hon, conduct their “female”, non-binding conversations (you can call them “Why was Cat Crazy in Victorious“), try on clothes, protect a homeless cat from grumpy neighbors, feel sorry for poor chickens, which the roosters aggressively force to mate … One couple in this film is lesbian, which is a real revolutionary step in Korean filmography (usually all characters are of traditional sexual orientation).
The situation is the same in In Another Country. Not only does Isabelle Huppert play three heroines with different destinies and characters, but there are many secondary female characters next to her.
There is the manager of the hotel, a young girl who is very helpful to Anna. There is a pregnant Korean woman who is not delighted with a foreign woman spinning around her husband. Finally, there is an elderly teacher – Anna’s companion. They travel together – it’s more fun.
Interestingly, both of these films are united by one actor – Kwon Hae-he. In The Woman, he plays a successful writer with whom Gum-hee once had an affair. The girl accuses him of being too talkative.
In earlier work, Hong Kwon plays the role of a pregnant Korean woman’s husband who is glued to Anna. It is interesting that this actor starred in more than two dozen films in his homeland, but the drama In Another Country, presented in Cannes, brought him fame.
Hong Sang-su likes to work with proven actors. Since he has been successfully shooting for 25 years, the faces in the frame, of course, change.
At the same time, for lovers of Korean creativity, a separate amusing game is still – recognizing one or another actor. Moreover, often, passing from film to film, they appear in similar images. But the details and circumstances are always different. After all, this is not one big film, but a mini-universe of a Korean master.
Creative people at the center of the plot
Gum-hee according to the plot is a florist, her friends also have interesting professions. The third story, for example, develops in the cinema. Hon in general often places heroes in a familiar environment. In the film Black Bullet Season 2 , half of the characters are filmmakers.
The Korean author is quite ironic about his own person. If you believe him, many directors love to drink and talk and also cheat on their wives (Hong himself succeeded in this business – his affair with Kim Min-hee that lasted for several years led to his divorce from his wife).
In the conversations of his heroes, lofty topics are now and then discussed – a kiss at the Berlin Film Festival, the unethical nature of eating veal (cows have such beautiful eyes!), And, of course, the meaning of life.
So, one of the heroes – a Buddhist – explains to Anna that she, it seems, has not matured and does not know herself well. What can we say about others! To which Anna, annoyed, asks to give her his favorite Mont Blanc fountain pen.
Alcohol as background
When asked why they drink so much in his films, the Korean director usually replies that he is filming what he knows and loves well. He is not interested in showing how the heroes drink coffee. His characters look much more organic when they are sitting in a bar or cafe with a bottle of soju.
In the 2012 film, the heroine Isabelle Huppert takes two bottles of soju out of her purse (!) And drinks one after the other. She admits that she really likes this Korean drink. In another scene, we see beer on the table along with bottles of soju. And in the morning, near the tent of the lifeguard with whom Anna slept, a whole mountain of bottles was lying around.
They also drink in The Woman Who Escaped. But not soju, but white wine. In a world devoid of men, ladies prefer more noble drinks. The pleasure is stretched, and the intoxication comes more slowly.
In the new film, the Koreans are actively eating peeled apples. Hon Sang-su pays great attention to such seemingly insignificant details. A friend tells Gum-hee that she became a vegetarian and peels and cuts apples for a couple of minutes.
Perhaps, in this case, apples can be counted as McGuffins (McGuffin is an element of the film Log Horizon season 3that grabs the attention of the audience or is the engine of a fictional plot). Or here’s a ginger cat, around which a whole scandal erupted. An angry neighbor accuses Gum-hee’s friend of feeding the cat. And his wife is so afraid of cats that she is afraid to go out.