Junhee (Lee Hyeyoung, last seen in Hong’s In Front of Your Face) is a novelist who’s grown disenchanted with her own writing. On a trip to see an old friend, she runs into a film director who was set to adapt one of her novels before the project fell through. One chance encounter leads to another and soon she finds herself having lunch with Kilsoo (Kim Minhee), a well-known actress also questioning her role as an artist. It’s then that Junhee has an epiphany: she will make a film starring Kilsoo. It won’t be like other films. It will be the novelist’s film.
For his 27th feature, Hong holds a mirror up to his own artistic process and asks what exactly it is we’re looking for from a work of art. As his characters discuss their lives and work and the ways they intertwine, Hong sets down a sort of manifesto for his own inimitable oeuvre before exploding it (or perhaps fully realizing it) in a moving final flourish. With sparkling performances from Lee, Kim and an incredible cast of Hong regulars, The Novelist’s Film is a summation of Hong’s career-long artistic project, even as it signals bold new directions.