LIFF26 - In Another Country - Cinema Review

'Anne may have 99 problems but there's a hitch; none of them are interesting.'

An anecdotal Drama about three 'different' women (all played by Isabelle Huppert), Hong Sang-soo's Drama is so amiable and aimless it threatens to disappear from the screen altogether, fading out to white amongst what looks like deliberately amateurish saturated photography. Far from being passively interesting, at a slight eighty-nine minutes, In Another Country feels at least twice that long.

Quite what it is trying to achieve appears to be a deliberate mystery, perhaps even to the director. At one point, it certainly seems to be a musing on the failings of men. In each of her three guises, each taking a roughly equal amount of screentime, Huppert is the victim of the selfish, idiotic nature of the male Id. Dumped one minute, hit upon by a married man the next, Huppert's Anne bounces along with fairly quiet ambivalence, as Sang-soo struggles to find anything worth watching.

If that is indeed the point of In Another Country then it does end up making a meal even of this. Anne is not particularly likeable in any of her iterations. In the final third, where Anne is a recent divorcee, Sang-soo finally considers doing something radical with her, before apparently bottling it and leaving her to stew some more. The other female characters, mainly So-ri Moon, as a pregnant wife who reappears throughout, do not fare much better, each displaying overtly negative traits and decision processes.

In passing there are perhaps references here to Lost In Translation, but beyond a marginally funny (but not by the third time) conversation about a lighthouse, there's little charm and no laughs. Where that film found at least some poignancy, this is devoid of it. Anne may have 99 problems but there's a hitch; none of them are interesting.

By halfway it matters little what Sang-soo is doing with storytelling form; he hasn't made you laugh, care, cry or hate. Apart from the reminders which pop up at the start of each section it is entirely possible to forget that what we are watching is a fabrication anyway. Anne is being written, in her three individual ways by a writer stuck in the coastal town which Anne herself visits. Confused? You needn't be. You'll be asleep within the hour.

The 26th Leeds International Film Festival runs from 1st November to 18th November at venues around the city. Programming includes several UK premières, the popular Night Of and Day Of The Dead and a selection of competition films in the Official Selection.


  1. Replies
    1. Good morning to you too Marcus! How are you? Pleasant weather? Fan of In Another Country?