Claire's Camera: NZIFF Review
Director Hang Sang-Soo's latest may purport to be a representation of crossed lines and the relationships between men and women, but it's a bit of a struggle despite its brief running time.
Set in Cannes, and filmed there when its stars were promoting Elle and The Handmaiden in 2016, it stars Isabelle Huppert and Kim Min-hee as two people who cross paths at the Croisette.
Huppert is Claire, who finds Min-Hee's Jeon wandering around the streets. Armed with a camera, Claire is sauntering around Cannes taking pictures; Jeon meanwhile has been fired from her job managing film sales by her boss for reasons unknown to her, but which relate to her being dishonest.
As the two meet, three different perspectives collide.
Claire's Camera will appeal to those who enjoy Sang-Soo's rambling free-wheeling approach to movie-making, but this latest struggles a little with stilted dialogue which is further exacerbated due to language barriers.
Huppert's English along with Min-Hee's reactions make the film a difficult road to negotiate sometimes, and while Min-Hee manages to convey more of the turmoil with her subtle reactions, it's a hard road to grasp anything with Claire's Camera, other than sagging frustration.
It may be lovingly shot, an ongoing thread of Sang-Soo's directorial eye and a take on perception in the workplace, but Claire's Camera feels frustratingly underwhelming and bizarrely, overlong despite its 69 minute run time.
Ultimately, this may solely be one for purists of his form and art, and while the gradual reveals of what has occurred give a level of interest, the halting stuttering stops make it harder to maintain that level.