‘The woman who escaped’: the new jewel of a Korean teacher | Culture

As light as it is deep, The woman who escaped it narrates the encounters of its protagonist (again the great Kim Min-hee) during the first days she spends alone after five years of marriage. Three bursts of a life that, in the hands of the filmmaker Hong Sansoo, a fundamental name of contemporary cinema, lead to an exciting, complex and perfect simplicity. In its schematic and mysterious way, as oral as it is spatial, through long dialogues that appear to be trivial and minimal situations, the loneliness, or the momentary freedom and happiness, of the protagonist will permeate. A woman who little by little is shedding layers: we know that the first thing she did alone without her husband was to cut her hair herself and then reunite with her friends who, like so many things, were parked.

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Awarded at the Berlinale in 2020, the prolific Korean master’s new film takes place in three unique places (two houses and a cafeteria and a cultural center cinema) where the women in this film (the men appear as mere shadows) sit at eat apples and talk about their things and the past. In the first two encounters, surrounded by humor, warmth and melancholy, the protagonist goes to the house of those two old friends whom she no longer sees. They are impersonal and technological apartments that Hong turns into miniatures of everyday lives where chickens and, above all, a cat, will have an unexpected role. The third encounter is, a priori, the only casual one; It occurs in various corners of a cafeteria and a cinema and it is with the woman who snatched her previous partner from her, a writer who gives a talk in the same place. With a philosophical stillness, without the need to show off, Hong presents the viewer with the essence of life and the passage of time. That time that heals everything and that here is guessed through the windows through which the mountains appear to which the characters constantly refer. Those, yes, unappealable and eternal.

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