The Running Actress
Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
Everybody in Korea knows Moon Sori (Oasis, The Handmaiden), the muse who has starred in masterpieces by Lee Chang-dong and Hong Sang-soo. When she wants a quiet drink after a long hike, oafish men plonk themselves next to her in a bar; a dentist dangles free bridge implants for her mom as bait to get her autograph. Her shelves are lined with trophies but lately, few people line up with scripts or contracts, except for unpaid cameos and "mom" roles. Playing herself in a canny directorial debut that whisks truth and fiction into an inseparable blend, the veteran actress makes mordant parody of ageism and sexism in the film industry.
The feature originated as three shorts Moon made for a directing course she attended, but they cohere seamlessly. In Act 1, she goes on a hike and runs into a producer who delivers the first blow to her self-confidence. Act 2 sees her juggling multiple roles as wife, mother and career woman. Caught in situations both mundane and ridiculous, she conveys, with self-deprecating irony, the nuisance of being in the limelight. As she moves closer to a meltdown, a director’s wake prompts her to take stock of what cinema and acting mean to her… While peppered with entertaining industry in-jokes and celebrity cameos, her portrait poignantly lays bare the pressures and vulnerability of a glamorous profession.