Grass (2018)

[…] Hong Sang-soo’s Grass could double as a snapshot of his filmography; tales of life, love, connection, sorrow and yearning all unfurl in a cafe. […] [I]n his only film slated for this year thus far after 2017’s three-title bonanza, Grass, [however], demonstrates a fresh type of playfulness from the prolific filmmaker.

Brandishing his classic naturalistic style, Hong’s black-and-white effort pieces hops between conversations at the central alleyway coffee house, listening in – and zooming for emphasis where necessary, of course. On the Beach at Night Alone [HIFF 2017] star and Berlin 2017 best actress winner Kim Minhee, in her fourth consecutive film for Hong, proves a distinctively solo figure amidst the groups swapping chatter over beverages. Writing at her laptop but quick to explain that she’s not a writer, she’s happy spinning her eavesdropped snippets into her own commentary.

Unsurprisingly, Minhee stands out among the cast, though every player – many of them Hong regulars – sells the emotion behind each conversation. That said, it’s the touch of pairing the majority of Grass’ discussions with a piece of classical music […] that has the biggest impact. The film might paint existence as a cycle as natural as the garden growing outside the cafe, but each melodic tune offers a reminder of the beauty and variety in its ebbs and flows.

Sarah Ward, Screen Daily

  • Orig. title: Pul-ip-deul
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: Finecut
  • Cinematography: Kim Hyung-koo
  • Editing: Son Yeon-ji