Hong Sangsoo | Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay

Hong Sangsoo | Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay ★★★

Though it sounds ridiculous, this short film of a nice speech and then a snail moving across the ground - while we hear Que Sera Sera - perfectly captures Hong Sang-soo’s sensibilities.

The opening speech is just a thank you for an award, yet it flows lyrically. Here we have displayed a love for the rhythms of speech, and the melodies of language. Hong Sang-soo films let characters talk and focus on this, the action - so to speak - is the interplay of words. His lilting narration here captures that, his syllables containing a musicality that is only elevated by phrasing that manages to be everyday and poetic at the same time.

Then we cut to the snail and the song. Director Hong uses music beautifully in his films, here is no exception. The song is a capella (it’s Kim Min-hee, of course it is - more classic Hong Sang-soo choices) and therefore brings us back to words as a pleasure in themselves. The tone is also changed by this, turning the beyond banal into something incidentally beautifully.

This is the final piece of the Hong Sang-soo puzzle. As always, the camera just lingers but, as always, the brilliance of his work is in his eye: finding the perfect thing to just capture, the incidental thing that others would ignore. He consistently finds poetry in the world through a focus on normality, and by making the viewer just sit and watch.

Even the quirkiness here, the delightful strangeness of just sharing a snail and a song, is quintessential Hong Sang-soo.

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