Berlinale 2023 Review: IN WATER Dazzles
Shin Seokho, Kim Seungyun, and Ha Seongguk star in director Hong Sang-soo's latest contemplation on creativity and art.
The most prolific and fastest-working filmmaker in the world, Hong Sang-soo has become
Hong Sang-soo has become the very definition of an auteur in the truest sense, as he writes, produces, directs, edits, and composes a score for his films. He is the embodiment of
Hong Sang-soo's In Water is an introspective exploration of the creative process that unfolds over the course of three days. The film was shot in six days.
In a minimalist set-up, the director follows a former actor, Seongmo (Shin Seokho), who sets out to test his creativity by shooting a short film. He is joined by a budding actress (Kim Seungyun) and a boom operator (Ha Seongguk), who are supposed to help bring his vision to life.
In Water captures the essence of the creative process.
While Hong's recurring theme is the examination of male-female relationships, often depicted through the lens of middle-aged men who are struggling to come to terms with their own shortcomings and inadequacies, In Water veers from this potentially autobiographical and metatextual direction. The young filmmaker protagonist decides to reconstruct a meeting with a woman collecting trash on a beach for his short film. And then
Hong's films often feature a self-reflexive quality, with characters who are themselves artists or writers grappling with questions of creativity and artistic expression.
The world premiere of the film
Despite the experimental style, and even more profound embracing of the cinema of minimalism, In Water is more inviting to an audience outside the usual ranks of the South Korean auteur's cinephile following.
In contrast to Introduction, In Water offers new and curious viewers an opportunity to discover Hong Sang-soo's poetics and storytelling style effortlessly.
Cinema Guild will be releasing In Water theatrically in North America later in 2023.