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From an enigmatic life in France, 40-year old Mira returns home to Korea. Do things change in 20 years? Joining friends and revisiting old hangouts, the present gets jumbled with nightmares, guilt, sadness, and memories of the past. Or is that really what happened? Kim Hee-Jung’s A French Woman, shows how the mind can bring us into temporal slips.

Life is illusion. Relationships are illusory. Undealt-with anguish and grief cause friends to become strangers and lovers to be estranged. Humans keep secrets. As more of their stories unfold, it comes to light that so-called close friends don’t really even know each other.

Certain random bits of Mira’s life take place within her sleep-heavy bedroom. The gloomy and somber setting is ripe for the occurrence of nightmares and confused timelines. It’s hard to say which events were true-to-life and which were thrown in by the director as a monkey-wrench. Some of the mysteries of Mira’s memories may not need to be understood, such as allusions to a cat, a baby, and a maid.

Through interactions with old friends, the viewer sees that women intimidate one another, envy what the other has, without realizing it isn’t even what it appears to be. Whether the characters understand what the audience knows, is less certain. A complex tale about unfinished business and the process of grieving things that just aren’t what we thought they were, or wanted them to be.

 

A French Woman:

Korean Film Festival Canada – On Demand, October 29th – November 30th, 2020

https://www.koreanfilm.ca