Autumn, Autumn Screen 81 of 9 reviews

Autumn, Autumn

2016

Autumn, Autumn Poster
  • Jang renders the understated, quotidian drama with an especially refined eye for the dying of the light, exceptionally and subtly clever compositions, and a sense of the sheer weight of duration. Ostensibly modest yet sneakily ambitious (not to mention laden with tiny details, repetitions, and internal rhymes that make subsequent viewings that much more rewarding), Autumn, Autumn is a smallish marvel, and its director is unmistakably one to watch.

  • A modestly scaled, boldly structured meditation on happenstance and the precariousness of human interaction... Jang films these seemingly banal moments in long, fluid takes... in essence eavesdropping on a handful of privileged moments that slowly accumulate an emotional tactility befitting the lush landscapes in which these characters find themselves.

  • Swaying repeatedly from vibrant seasonal tones to a pearlescent, misty gray, “Autumn, Autumn” has a low-key fretfulness that suggests a darker reading of its ambiguous dual endings. Yet though disappointment and loneliness guide its conversations, the movie isn’t bleak; it’s a touching and tender commentary on the need to be seen and the desire to be heard.

  • Both stories are flagrantly unfinished, and the cliffhanger, initially puzzling, takes on a more disconcerting tone after the film's end. At least for this viewer, there’s something darkly lonesome about Autumn, Autumn. During an extended shot of the man and woman sharing a meal, the sunlight warms the dim and blue, only to retreat behind the clouds again.

  • While Jang borrows much from the vaunted poet laureate of soju and sadness — late-night beer-fueled confessions, poorly conceived trips into and out of town, even awkward discussions over barbecue — he evinces an aesthetic panache and eye for detail entirely his own... The film has a searching quality, doleful and true, that distinguishes it not only from Hong's justly cherished oeuvre, but from a whole range of delicate indie comic-dramas to which it might otherwise be superficially compared.

  • While Jang shares a fascination in the way two people can never truly connect with his fellow countryman, Hong Sang-soo, his approach is far less comical. As Se-rang notes, gazing out at the landscape, "it feels a bit sad." And as beautiful as Autumn, Autumn is on the surface, the chill of what's to come is felt beneath.

  • If conventional narrative cinema grammar has trained us to understand scenes taking place prior to the broadcasting of a film’s title as build-up to the story proper... then how do we negotiate the import of Ji-hyeon’s tale, remarkably slight as it seems? This is just one of the gentle perplexities of Autumn, Autumn, a deft realist miniature that operates as both a record of everyday spaces and a document of the emotionally charged, albeit ephemeral, human dramas that pass through them.

  • This impressive low-budget Korean objet d'art is going to draw inevitable comparisons to Hong Sang-soo. While such comparisons are not entirely offbase, they are likely to obscure what is fresh and unusual about Autumn, Autumn. The original title, it should be noted, is Chuncheon, Chuncheon, two iterations of the Korean town where the main action of the film takes place. This is a significant clue to what writer-director Jang Woo-jin is playing at, so don't say he didn't warn you.

  • [It bears] a strong resemblance to the work of Hong Sang-soo, who is becoming increasingly influential on the younger generation of Korean directors, with its setting in Gangwon Province, like Hong’s second feature, 1998’s Kangwon-do-ui Him (The Power of Kangwon Province), and split narrative form, also resembling the earlier film, although with less direct connection between the two parts. But despite this derivative approach, it is quietly effective and poetic.

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