Romance Joe

Neighboring Sounds
Neighboring Sounds
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How To Survive A Plague

"All these fine young lives wasted on film and whatnot," complains a mother in Lee Kwang-kuk's witty debut of three time-toggling, interlocking sagas involving suicidal directors and actresses. The influence of fellow Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo in both theme and structure is undeniable: Lee previously worked as an assistant on Hong's Hahaha and Tale of Cinema. Yet Romance Joe impresses not only with its complex stories nesting within stories—labyrinthine plotting that eventually makes sense—but also an emotional heft that's never diminished by the narrative gambit.

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