Kim Taeyang’s feature debut, shot over four years, follows a man and a woman who meet by chance and stroll through Seoul’s changing streets.
The word “mimang” holds multiple meanings in Korean. One, being unable to make sense from ignorance. Two, being unable to forget what one wants to forget. And three, searching far and wide. In debut filmmaker Kim Taeyang’s Seoul-based feature debut, the camera observes in three parts the changes in time, space, and characters that align with the above-mentioned definitions. Shot in Seoul over the course of four years, the film vividly captures changes to the characters and the city — specifically the historical area of Jongno — during a couple’s strolls up and down (memory) lanes.
Potentially marking the beginning of a new style in Korean film, the triptych’s photography unexpectedly beautifies — even romanticizes — a city that is generally considered to be oversaturated with tasteless signage. The use of a telephoto lens puts us close to the characters, but intentional cropping prevents us from getting the full picture. Never releasing enough information to properly deliver emotions in depth, Kim flattens the film’s perspective, as if to mimic the compressing nature of cinema that sandwiches one’s life to a few hours. Despite our distance from the characters, Mimang successfully draws out feelings of reminiscence and longing for a place and people we don’t recognize.A condensed Korean indie counterpart to Richard Linklater’s Before series, Mimang ends with a final title card that suggests there could be yet another meaning for “mimang.”
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival