Claire's Camera ★★★½


A.V. Club review. As much an artistic statement of principles as Paterson, though Hong is even more determined than Jarmusch to toss off his manifesto as a light doodle. At one point somewhere in the middle, I briefly forgot who was directing and wondered if Claire might be a sly provocateuse, playing all three legs of the love triangle she's stumbled into against each other while feigning ignorance. But of course that's much too devious for Hong, whose intentions here are downright earnest. Claire's camera is more or less a descendant of Yang Yang's in Yi Yi, showing others what they can't see for themselves; instead of the backs of people's heads, her subject is their entire former state of being, which can be abandoned once viewed. Not much more to it than that, but the film's spontaneous awkwardness is mostly quite charming (Huppert in particular seems to be radiating sheer amusement rather than playing a character), and Hong respects the limits of his little exercise by wrapping things up in just over an hour, via a beautifully rushed ending. Winced a little during the break-up scene that plays like wish fulfillment, though—especially given that Hong's wife has reportedly been ducking process servers for months, determined not to grant him a divorce. Calling his alter ego a drunkard doesn't exactly provide balance.