Behind Confucian Roots,
The Woman Who Ran (2019)

Following the success of “Parasite” at the Oscars in 2020, another Korean movie has surfaced in Berlin. On February 29th director Hong Sang-soo won the Silver Bear Award for his new film “The Woman Who Ran” (2019). It is only the second time in 16 years that a Korean director has won the Best Director award at the Berlin Film Festival since Kim Ki-duk, director of “Samaria (2004). It’s the film’s epic victory.

 I knew this would happen. He is my favorite, regardless of his relationship history.

 Also, Kim Min-hee (Hong Sang-soo’s lover), who stars for the seventh time in one of the director’s films, is one of my favorite actresses and she has also won the Silver Bear-Women’s Award at the Berlin Film Festival for her appearance in “On the Beach at Night Alone” (2016).

“The Woman Who Ran” is a movie that follows the main actress Kim Min-hee, who plays the role of a florist who enjoys the absence of her husband who leaves for a long business trip.  A reporter asked director Hong in a press conference, “Who is the woman who ran away? And why did she run?” Hong said, “Every woman is running away from something, and I don’t know the exact details because there is no exact answer to it”. In the end, we have to find the answer to the ending as we always did with his movies.

Most people know that the relationship between director Hong and actress Kim Min-hee started as an affair. They first met with “Right Now and Wrong Then” and publicly admitted to their relationship in 2017. In South Korean society, Hong Sang-soo is not well recognized as a director, he is treated as a failed ex-director for commercial films. The movie community in Berlin.

However, doesn’t seem to be very interested in the private lives of the artists.

Is ridding modern Korean society from its Confucian roots, hence making it a true capitalist society the only way that enables these works of art to shine as they should?

In fact, I personally do not get much agitated by these Confucian problems. I love actress Kim Min-hee, herself and director Hong Sang-soo bring a unique combination of natural and comfortable emotions with their signature silence combined with the flow filming method. The director’s saying “Life is beyond any kind of generalization.” is always on my mind. That concept is why I love his films.

Can’t we just accept their work, as director and actress? While this is not the only way to look at it, and I don’t believe anyone has to think in this way, I still think it’s important to distance ourselves from daily happenings, to sincerely understand the intent of the artists.

Seoul – 2020/03/10