In Front of Your Face

#Review: In Front of Your Face – East Asia Film Festival 2022

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In Front of Your Face is a 2021 South Korean film that will be showing at the IFI for the East Asia Film Festival. It follows Sangok (Lee Hye-Yeong) as she returns to her home and reconnects with her sister as well as seeing a director about a possible film role. While this is all going on she harbours a secret that she isn’t telling anyone.

Across this short film, only 1 hour and 25 minutes we see Sangok in a state of almost constant melancholy. She takes in the surroundings, reminiscents with her sister about their childhood, visits her nephew, returns to her childhood home and meets the director of a potential new project for herself.

In Front of Your Face is a beguiling film. During the first two-thirds of the film, I felt something was off and wasn’t quite sure what it was. Sangok would go from location to location and meet individuals and would have these moments with them. It’s all quite stilted. There is a strange sense of disconnect as Sangok meets all these people. She’s clearly interested in talking to everyone but throughout the entire film, I wondered what was driving Sangok.

And then the penny dropped

When Sangok’s secret is revealed the film changed for me. Every previous scene was recontextualised in my mind and looking back these moments between Sangok and the rest of this intimate cast are all the more intimate.

The film is also shot in a fascinating fashion. Director/Writer Hong San-soo has gone for a mise en scéne that has two people, three on the rare occasion, in a single frame and the camera rarely moves. This means it feels like you’re sitting down with Sangok and her scene partner and you’re a part of this intimate moment. It elevates the emotions of these scenes and helped me further connect with Sangok.

The way Hong San-soo has filmed In Front of Your Face makes it feel quite human in both its themes and design. It felt almost like a fly on the wall documentary.

I really enjoyed In Front of Your Face. It’s a beautiful snapshot of a woman’s life and I enjoyed my visit, even if it was brief.

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