Introduction

Introduction ★★★★

Introduction is unusual for a Hong movie for a couple of reasons: It is very much a movie about the difficult roadblacks between generations - very clearly structured as sort of a series of non-meetings -, but unlike his previous work in which family gaps were central, he does seem to opt to see his 20 something leads from a distance. The movie main late confrontation is a very discursive discussion about acting and for once in Hong's work the idea of imagination, so central for his cinema, seems perceived not from the point of view of the artist who imagines but from the one that performs it. The push and pull that moves every Hong film - the emphasis at same time in a series of ordinary activities and a very deliberate fictional construction, the distance between action and retelling the same one might say - seems confronted in rather discursive manner right down to the two beautiful final scenes, one imagined and one acted that inform each other. The gaps in the narrative are very deliberate, one gets three episodes haunted by what is kept offscreen and the whole movie often feels like a 100 minute one that was cut down to 65. The black and white cinematography as it usually happens when Hong deploys it functions of an extra layer of distance, making the actions less direct and more demonstrative. Yet, the entire film does depends on notions of performance and how one reacts even if it is something as simple and essential as getting cold on the beach.

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