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Dryasdust Memories

Jeonwonsa Film Co.Production

Introduction (2021)

So what’s the Korean Woody Allen to do when his American counterpart now resides on the blacklist? If “Introduction” is any indication, Hong Sang-soo is in no hurry to distance himself from the association even if it now conjures up the alleged predator of adopted daughters rather than the chronicler of the Central Park West bourgeoisie. “Introduction” isn’t just Allenesque, it’s monochromatic Allenesque – à la “Manhattan,” “Stardust Memories,” “Zelig,” “Broadway Danny Rose,” “Shadows and Fog,” “Celebrity” et al. (See also: “The Day After,” “Grass” and “Hotel by the River.”) Continue if you want to be spoiled.

Still, Mr. Hong seems somewhat mindful of accusations of misogyny, be they lodged at himself or Mr. Allen. To address this, Mr. Hong apparently chooses to make his protagonist, Youngho (Shin Seokho), a lovesick aspiring actor who jettisons a burgeoning career because he can’t bring himself to kiss another woman when his part calls for it. Unfortunately, Mr. Hong’s depiction of women here isn’t any less sexist. Juwon (Park Miso) isn’t just the director’s usual go-getter; but we find out in a dream sequence toward the end that she abandons Youngho to shag up a German, who then leaves her for another Korean woman after her uveitis diagnosis.

At an unsubstantial 66 minutes, “Introduction” is slight by design. The interconnectedness of the ancillary characters is interesting, but it never amounts to any significant revelations that resonate either within or outside the film. Now that Americans are fully aware of the greatness of Korean cinema thanks to “Parasite,” a lightweight Woody Allen should just be left in the past.


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