To know what’s going on in the world of movies, present and past, it’s important to pay attention to short films. That’s not easy, though, since there aren’t many sources that show them, whether online or in theatres—but the Web site Le CiNéMa Club is one of the few that does. What’s more, it does so in a strikingly original way, one that’s well-crafted to emphasize the importance of short films over all—and the distinctiveness of the ones it programs.
The site features one short film each week, from Friday through Thursday, and the one on offer starting this Friday, “List,” from 2011, is both a miniature masterwork on its own and an added, revealing facet in the œuvre of its director, Hong Sang-soo, who is both one of the most original and one of the most prolific of current filmmakers. (The 2018 New York Film Festival will be presenting two new features by Hong, and the Museum of the Moving Image is screening, from September 15th to 23rd, his three features from 2017, two of which were at last year’s New York Film Festival.)
“List,” which runs a half hour, is the tale of a young woman (Jung Yu-mi) and her mother (Youn Yuh-jung) who, facing a family crisis, are visiting a seaside resort town. The woman makes a list of things that they should do while there, and that list provides the springboard for the idiosyncratic, romantic action that follows. As seen in “List,” Hong is both a fanatical realist who builds many of his films from his own experience and a fabulist who, with clever and bold twists of dramatic form, links his intimate stories to the grand schemes of the classic cinema. For those who love his films, “List” is another facet of his gemlike artistry; for those who don’t, it’s an excellent, brisk introduction.
As for short films over all, there’s a superb series of them coming up at the Quad, focussing on anthology films—twenty-eight features, from the nineteen-thirties to the nineteen-nineties, that package more than a hundred and eighty shorts by major directors. For that matter, Hong is the director of his own wonderful anthology, “Oki’s Movie,” also starring Jung, and also available to stream.
Stream “List” at Le CiNéMa Club.
Stream “Oki’s Movie” at YouTube and Google Play.