(Hong Sangsoo; South Korea; 2010)
Utterly, utterly disappointing. I'm not so familiar with Hong's earlier films, which by all accounts appear to be his stronger work, but up til last year's Like You Know It All, his waning powers still managed to pull off fair-to-OK films. Hahaha, however, suggests that Hong needs to start investing some energy into projects that do not involve loose meanderings of men who are naïve, deluded, and gormless. It seems extremely unusual that this film, the nadir of his output so far, is the one that has garnered this years Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes. The film feels lazy and listless, with reminiscences between two friends shot in as a series of black-and-white stills, and the stories they tell re-enacted for us in colour. The fact that there are coincidences in their stories, that they unwittingly share the same people in their recent pasts, very quickly loses its flavour, and we are left with a bland series of exchanges that are not really amusing and not really interesting. The titles of Hong's last couple of films seem to reflect a kind of blasé attitude which saps all the energy out of his film-making. If his next film is called Yeah, Well, Whatever then I'm completely avoiding it.