Known as a director whose films appear ordinary on the surface but reveal complex and often uncomfortable truths about relationships between people, HONG Sangsoo was born in 1960 in Seoul. he studied film at Chungang Univervisty and later received a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts and an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, and spent a few months studying at the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris.
It was with The Day The Pig Fell In The Well that he made an award-winning debut in 1996. he returned two years later with The Power Of Kangwon Province , another film with characters traveling and going over relationships, and established himself as one of the most solid and notable Korean filmmakers of his time.
Despite low domestic attendance, his arthouse films have always travelled and sold well abroad. With his own production company Jeonwonsa, HONG has been making films with great regularity – at least one every two years and sometimes even twice a year. In 2010, which was such a year, Hahaha closed the Cannes Un Certain Regard section while Oki’s Movie , was the Closing Film for the Venice film festival’s Orrizonti section.
At time of press a few weeks before Cannes, the quote-sensitive director HONG Sangsoo prefers not to talk about The Day He Arrives before its premiere. But for those interested to hear from the director of so many seemingly personal films, he was not averse to replying candidly to a “Proust Questionnaire” that Korean Cinema Today put to him.
What is happiness to you?
Carelessness of heart.
What are you most afraid of?
When my mind is going crazy, being
enveloped by darkness.
What are your most marked traits?
What are the traits you most hate in others?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Maguro sashimi once a week when I can.
What is your greatest regret?
Not having travelled enough with my daughter.
What is your favorite trip?
1) A compulsive one without any preparation period prior to 2) Shooting period
What are the traits in a man you most like?
What are the traits in a woman you most like?
What do you most dislike?
A few [things]
How would you describe your current state of mind?
Been clear for many days, today and yesterday a little foggy, but will be clear soon again.
What is the most miserable thing to you?
Going alone, being crazy inside, not being able to talk about it.
What do you think is the best thing you have ever done?
All the important things in my life (if I can ever pinpoint them), they’re all brought to me by chance. (I reacted to all of them with my best at the time, like anybody else.)
If you hadn’t become a director, what would you have done?
How do you feel about returning to Cannes?
Hope it will be a pleasant trip.