The delightful new film from Festival favourite Hong Sang-soo (In Another Country) presents two variations on a potentially fateful romantic encounter between a filmmaker and a painter, tracing each to its own very distinct outcome.
The latest film from Festival favourite Hong Sang-soo pursues the always-alluring possibility of love down two very different paths. In Right Now, Wrong Then, Hong presents two variations on a potentially fateful encounter between a filmmaker and an artist, tracing each to its own very distinct outcome.
Ham Cheon-soo (Jung Jae-young, star of Hong’s Our Sunhi) is a director visiting Suwon for a screening and speaking engagement. Having arrived a day early, Cheon-soo heads out sightseeing and, while visiting an old palace, meets Yoon Hee-jeong (Kim Min-hee), a pretty local painter.
Conversation flows easily between the two, and before they know it a coffee date leads to a visit to Hee-jeong’s studio, which leads to sushi and too much soju, which leads to an uncomfortable visit to a party, which leads to… well, let’s just say that what transpires at this drunken get-together makes all the difference with regards to whether Cheon-soo and Hee-jeong’s brief encounter becomes something bitter or sweet.
“Discovering what is hidden beneath the surface of our lives is the only way to overcome our fears,” says Cheon-soo, in one of his more lucid moments. It’s a sentiment that could well encapsulate Hong’s exquisite cinema, in which the surface of any given scene can yield insights into the myriad ways men and women seize or sabotage decisive moments in their lives.
Enriched by the naturalistic performances of the two leads, Hong’s characteristically subtle camerawork (with gracefully staged long takes accented by a slight pan or a sudden zoom) and unexpected bursts of humour, Right Now, Wrong Then is a delightful addition to Hong’s cinematic catalogue.[GIOVANNA FULVI]