Isabelle Huppert plays three roles in “In Another Country” by South Korean director Hong Sang-soo about French women lost in translation among admirers in Asia, premiering at Cannes on Monday.
(From left) Korean actress Moon So-ri, Korean director Hong Sang-soo, French actress Isabelle Huppert, Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung and South Korean actor Yu Jun-sang attend the premiere for Korean film “In Another City” at the 65th Cannes Film Festival in France on Monday. (Xinhua-Yonhap News)
Huppert, 59, appears as a trio of different characters, all named Anne, in quirky vignettes dreamed up by a young screenwriter, a woman seen only briefly in the film.
All the stories take place in the seaside town of Mohang, with Anne the successful film-maker, Anne the married woman cheating on her husband with a Korean man and a third Anne the fragile divorcee whose husband ran off with a Korean woman.
Actress Isabelle Huppert listens during a press conference for In Another Country at the 65th international film festival on Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)
In the town she has a series of chance encounters with local personalities including a hunky lifeguard, the husband of a heavily pregnant woman who has always dreamed of seducing an elegant Frenchwoman, and even a Buddhist monk who cannot resist her request to have the Mont Blanc pen to which he is “attached.”
The language barrier reduces the interactions to the most basic of global English, leaving plenty of room for misunderstandings but also for an array of universal gestures conveying attraction, frustration and generosity.
“This is the subject of the film. It’s about someone who visits another world that is far from home, but filming with him I found a sensation that was both exotic and one of extreme familiarity,” Huppert said of Hong.
Hong said he was interested in the experience of global travellers leaving their comfort zone and the effect it has on both the foreigners and the locals.
Director Hong Sangsoo (left), actors Isabelle Huppert(center) and Yu Junsang listen during a press conference at the 65th international film festival on Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)
“My hope is that the audience can identify with Anne and this feeling of being plunged into an unknown universe, in a country where you are essentially alone,” he told reporters.
South Korean actress Moon Sori arrives at the 65th Cannes film festival on Monday. (AFP-Yonhap News)
Hong, 51, is a Cannes regular, now on his fourth turn in competition after “Woman is the Future of Man” and “Tale of Cinema” in 2004 and 2005, then “Night and Day” in 2008.
And he won the top prize in the festival’s Un Certain Regard sidebar section two years ago for “Hahaha.” “In Another Country” is his first film shot mainly in English.
The French screen icon said Hong managed to bridge cultural differences between Asia and Europe with a kind of universal humanist film-making.
“The first film of Hong Sang-soo that I saw was ‘Woman is the Future of Man’ in Paris and ... I felt a real familiarity with this film,” she said.
“I had a feeling that this was both a Korean film and a film that was very close to our sensitivity, the sort of thing we like in France ― I had a weird feeling of both distance and proximity.”
Huppert has turned her interest to Asian films of late and starred earlier this year as an aid worker kidnapped by Islamic extremist group Abu Sayyaf in Filipino director Brillante Mendoza’s “Captive.” (AFP)