The deadpan edge of much of the film’s 90 minutes of prattle conceals thoughts on the insularity of creative communities, the ticking clock of an artist’s life and the importance of remaining open to finding truth even in what appear to be random connections.
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Ultimately, The Novelist’s Film defends the idea of drift and hiatus, of time spent idling to hear your own thoughts, in their own sweet time.
The film proves that Hong Sang-soo has yet to exhaust his methods of deriving significance and beauty from the most quotidian of details.
Some small-scale but surprising formal twists, and much playfulness, will keep his admirers happy.
Though it lacks the near-spiritual dimension of the recent “In Front of Your Face” (Hong’s best in years), The Novelist’s Film is another focused, charming autofiction, well-structured yet open to the inspirations of serendipity.