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Berlin: Hong Sang-soo’s ‘The Novelist’s Film’ Picked By Finecut

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Leading indie sales agent Finecut has picked up international rights to “The Novelist’s Film.” The picture marks the third year in a row that South Korean director Hong Sang-soo has had a film selected for competition in Berlin.

Hong, who works on low budgets, controls much of the production process and makes repeated use of a small pool of actors, is one of the most prolific feature directors in the world. Although his works divide critics, he appears to have been recently rehabilitated among selectors (and juries) at the major European festivals.

Hong’s 2020 “The Woman Who Ran” earned Berlin’s silver bear for best director. His 2021 film “Introduction” won another silver bear, for best screenplay, at last year’s delayed festival. His other film from last year, “In Front of Your Face” played in competition in the July 2021 edition of the Cannes festival, but came away empty-handed.

His films are known for their minimalist style, a focus on female characters, serial chance encounters and oblique references to the media industry. On paper, “The Novelist’s Film” fits exactly in that groove.

Finecut pitches the synopsis as: “A female novelist takes a long trip to visit a bookstore run by a younger colleague who has fallen out of touch. Then she goes up a tower on her own and runs into a film director and his wife. They take a walk in a park and meet an actress, after which the novelist tries to convince the actress to make a film with her. She and the actress get something to eat, then revisit the bookstore where a group of people are drinking. The actress gets drunk and falls asleep.”

Its cast includes Lee Hye-young (“In Front of Your Face,” and TV’s Mother” and “Boys Over Flowers”), Kim Min hee (“Introduction, “The Woman Who Ran”) and Seo Young-hwa (“Introduction, “The Woman Who Ran”).

Finecut is also handling sales on “The Hill of Secrets,” which will play in the festival’s Generation K Plus youth section. Directed by Lee Ji-eun, “The Hill of Secrets” is a coming-of-age story of a 12-year-old girl with exceptional emotional sensitivity who gains deeper understanding of herself and her family through the power of writing.