Apr 27, 2011

SFIFF54: "Hahaha" An Ode to Family, Friends and Soju

1:32 PM

The highly celebrated, Korean auteur filmmaker- Hong Sangsoo(writer/director) bears a voyeuristic-story into two friends each sharing their Summer getaway over soju in this gem of a SFIFF pick-- that was awarded the Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year.

Hahaha works like a story told amongst close friends with pictures, as Hong uses black & white stills of the two main characters-- Munkyung (Kim Sangkyung) and Jungshik (Yu Junsang)-- as they drink soju and with every geon-bae (cheers!) we are taken into their vacation experiences. Munkyung is a somewhat awkward, aspiring filmmaker who goes back to his hometown to visit his mom, while Jungshik is hooking up with his mistress. Both men are visiting the same town, around the same people and at the same places though they never realize it.

This isn't your average K-drama filled with hawt actors, fights and gratuitous sex scenes so you need to flip the switch off on your assumptions...something I failed to do that prevented me from fully appreciating the slow-pace and grounded, realistic direction.

Sure, there is a fight, a whole lot of drinking and serious sexual tension-- this is a Korean film afterall people!

The acting performances are steeped in a way that each character will probably remind you of someone you know-- whether it be the dashing boy-toy, creepy stalker, non-chalant adulterer and of course the classic, drunken mess.

Where other films go out of their way to make a big emotional splash with the viewer, Hong prefers that you catch some of the slight of hand nuances that more, appropriately connect back to the experiences that are of our own. Loved how there was so many instances where the two friends could have bumped into eachother, like being in the same restaurant but separated by one room-- the difference between laughing at the pathetic old guy getting spanked by his mom to reaching out and saying man that girl is playing you son!

A smart, laid-back flick that will make you rush to hang with some friends/fam and grub over a few bottles of soju.

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big O
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