OUT OF COMPETITION “I want to find out if I have any creativity in me”. It’s the feeling that echoes in an actor who decides to make a film but is still searching for the story he’s going to tell. He waits for the right light, for the best way to capture the horizon, but it ends up being a conversation that sparks his inspiration.
The prolific Korean director opens his 2023 filmography with this film that radicalizes his line of work from smaller productions, where he seems to open a new formal exploration within his cinema. If Hong Sang-Soo was already known for his particular use of zoom, which he managed to perfect within his narrative games, here almost the entire film, with the exception of one scene, is out of focus. A decision that he himself says was made at the last minute and is imprinted in the watery quality referred to in the title.
The gesture removes the precise definition of the digital, but the emotionality that weaves this little story is far from undefined. At worst, in water will be a rarity in Sang Soo’s career, but at best it heralds the beginning of formal experimentation in his cinema. However, the subtlety and emotional beauty of his narrative remain intact and grand, as the film’s final scene shows. Long live Hong Sang Soo! (Vanja Milena)