Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today: LOST IN THE MOUNTAINS Review

Dustin Chang, Contributing Writer

Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo's Lost in the Mountains plays as part of Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) which starts today and runs through September 30th. It is paired up with Bong Joon-ho's 2004 contribution to Jeonju Digital Project, a wickedly funny short Influenza.

Since its conception in 2000, Jeonju Digital Project has been garnering prestige around the world, resulting in a sumptuous 9 DVD box set (2000-2008). Commissioned in 2009 and not included in the box set (but available as part of an omnibus film,Visitor, along with Naomi Kawase's Koma and Lav Diaz's Butterflies Have No Memories). This is a rare opportunity to see Lost in the Mountains on the big screen and a must for Hong completists
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This thirty minute, digitally shot movie is a typical Hong: men and women getting drunk and behaving badly. It concerns a young writer (great Jung Yu-mi of Café Noir) visiting her best friend in Jeonju. "Out of bad habit," as she says in her voice over, she calls up her old professor, of whom she had an affair with, and ends up in a love motel. But in her brief stay, she finds out that her best friend is also sleeping with him. Fuming with jealousy and resentment, she calls up another one of her lovers from college to come and console her. Over a copious amount of soju (Korean vodka), the others chastise her for making a fool of herself in her drunken stupor.

Hong uses his given time wisely: Lost in the Mountains is like a condensed version of a two-hour Hong movie with just as many emotional peaks and public humiliations. It's fun to watch as our lead character (one protagonist is rare in Hong's film and it's a woman!) emotionally bulldozes around her surroundings. It also has a very uncharacteristic, hilarious and resolute ending for a Hong movie. Lost in the Mountains offers everything that the Korean auteur is known for and more in much shorter time.

For tickets and info, visit Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today at MoMA



Dustin Chang is a freelance writer. His musings and opinions can be found at www.dustinchang.com
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