Kwon (Seo Young-hwa) returns to Seoul from a restorative stay in the mountains. She is given a packet of letters left by Mori (Ryo Kase), who has come back from Japan to propose to her. As she walks down a flight of stairs, Kwon drops and scatters the letters, all of which are undated. When she reads them, she has to make sense of the chronology… and so must we.
Hong Sang-soo’s daring new film, alternately funny and haunting, is a series of disordered scenes based on the letters, echoing the cultural dislocation felt by Mori as he tries to make himself understood in halting English.
At what point did he drink himself into a lonely stupor? Did he sleep with the waitress from the Hill of Freedom café (Moon So-ri) before or after he despaired of seeing Kwon again?
Sixteen films into a three-decade career, Hong has achieved a rare simplicity in his storytelling, allowing for an ever-increasing psychological richness and complexity.
These two screenings of Hill of Freedom are part of the NYFF52 Main Slate.