HaHaHa

South Korean writer-director Hong Sang-soo’s Cannes prizewinner is a humane and subtle rebuke to the presumed banality of ordinary life. Just before leaving Korea for a new try in another country, an impoverished would-be director (Kim Sang-kyung) meets his old friend, a depressed movie critic (Yu Jun-sang), for cocktails and conversation. As the two young men knock back round after round of drinks and swap stories of their recent adventures in a small seaside town, each evidently is too self-involved to realize that they were in the same places with some of the same people at almost the same time. Their ostensible present tense is conveyed in still black-and-white pictures, overlaid with voiceover conversation and a regular “Cheers!” refrain, while the long takes of their remembered anecdotes have motion and color and occasional punctuating zooms. Hong gently suggests that even the most ineloquent emotional foibles can make for affecting memories — best when shared, but ultimately, poignantly, private.