PROD Yim Soonrye
SCR Lee Kwangkuk
CAM Jee Yunejeong
ED Son Yeonji
MUS Park Jinseok, Maurice Ravel
PROD CO Bori Pictures, for Cine 21
Fancy a trip down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole? Lee Kwangkuk (who was Hong Sangsoo’s assistant on four movies) couldn’t be a better guide. He may or may not have seen The Saragossa Manuscript, but he certainly knows how to tangle half a dozen storylines in knots. We start with the irascible parents of a blocked film director, who’s gone missing, and then jump back to the moment the director was dumped in a rural backwater and told to work hard on a script. Before you know it, a sweet local hooker is telling him a story about the suicidal Romance Joe, which in turn leads to Romance Joe’s memories of his thwarted boyhood love, and then… Romance Joe is ultimately informed by a cop that he doesn’t actually exist in this world, but he’s the film’s Alice. He leads us through a maze of narratives which echo each other even as they intersect and as one thing leads to an unpredictable other. Bewilderment has never been so enticing.
There’s a residue of Hong Sangsoo, of course. There’s that blocked director, there are flares of temper while drinking, and there’s the underlying proposition that stories are always pregnant with forking paths and alternative possibilities. But by filming in ‘Scope and using very pretty colours, Lee steps some distance from his mentor. His "Tale of Tales" is very much its own thing.
— Tony Rayns