6:30pm Hill of Freedom (66m) + List (29m)
Kwon (Seo Young-hwa) returns to Seoul from a restorative stay in the mountains. She is given a packet of letters left by Mori (Ryô Kase), who has come back from Japan to propose to her. As she walks down a flight of stairs, Kwon drops and scatters the letters, all of which are undated. When she reads them, she has to make sense of the chronology… and so must we. Alternately funny and haunting, Hill of Freedom is a series of disordered scenes based on the letters, echoing the cultural dislocation felt by Mori as he tries to make himself understood in halting English. At what point did he drink himself into a lonely stupor? Did he sleep with the waitress from the Hill of Freedom café (Moon So-ri) before or after he despaired of ever seeing Kwon again? An NYFF52 Main Slate selection.
In this breezy and absurdly funny short (shot and acted by the cast and crew of In Another Country immediately after its production wrapped), a woman (Minari Oscar-winner Youn Yuh-jung) and her daughter (Jung Yu-mi) decamp for the coastal town of Mohang, where the younger woman compiles a checklist of personal goals for the trip that she winds up working her way through as if by accident.
8:15pm Grass (66m)
Sitting in a café, typing on a laptop, Areum (Kim Minhee) eavesdrops on three dramatic situations unfolding in her general vicinity: a young woman bound for Europe and a male friend erupting in vitriolic accusations, a washed-up actor trying to sweet-talk his way into staying with an old friend, and a narcissistic actor-director (Jung Jin-young) trying to rope a young writer into his next project. Playing out largely in long-take two-shots, these conversations create a kind of never-ending theatrical performance, using Areum as the anchor. With its raw emotions and outward formal simplicity masking a complex episodic approach, Grass finds Korean master Hong setting up a fascinating narrative problem for himself and solving it as only he can. An NYFF56 Main Slate selection.