This week we’re watching Late Autumn, a Chinese/Korean collaboration that will resonate with you for a long time after.
Late Autumn begins with the scene of protagonist, Anna Chen, beaten and running through a suburb residential street. She returns back home to her husband who is lying lifeless on the floor. The film skips to seven years later and Anna has been granted furlough upon hearing of her mother’s death. Anna has three days to visit her family and attend her mother’s funeral before returning to prison. Anna heads home to Seattle on a long bus ride. The story begins when a stranger alights without enough cash to pay for the $65 ticket to Seattle. The stranger is a Korean man named Hoon who spots Anna on the bus and immediately assumes she is also Korean. He senses a silent connection but discovers she is indeed Chinese. Hoon asks her for the $30 and Anna pays the fare. Hoon is now in her debt. We learn Hoon is a gigolo and is on the run from one of his client’s threatening husbands. From what started as a silent connection brings these two characters on a three day tour of Seattle where their souls both find each other.
Late Autumn is a tale of impulse and desire. The mesmerising plot is as impulsive as the character’s journeys. They meet without any purpose and begin a friendship without any considerate drive. The plot is relaxing and slow-paced with some really drawn-out, silent scenes which are golden. Anna is portrayed as a very silent and reserved character, not surprising considering her prison sentence for murdering her abusive husband. There are some key, magical scenes where Anna just blossoms when she speaks. Her development of character is slow but a beautiful transformation. Anna and Hoon speak to each other in English and it is refreshing to see the use of a common second-language to them both depicted as a gateway for their characters to connect.
A silent film with a surreal emphasis on language and expression. Late Autumn cannot be recommended enough as a masterpiece in cinema. It is truly a remarkable film with some poignant messages neatly resolved in a beautiful story.