Film Review: Aloners (2021) by Hong Sung-eun

There isn’t any denying that the notorious saying of contemporary expertise having the ability to carry us collectively whereas additionally dividing us on the similar time rings more true than ever in occasions of a worldwide pandemic. Whereas the time period “social distancing” has turn out to be more and more widespread within the current, the thought itself is nothing new as our technological devices, from cell telephones to tablets and computer systems, have paved the way in which for an period of the disconnected. Even jobs at the moment, with just a few exceptions, make contact with individuals much less mandatory, particularly for the reason that majority of consumers reasonably name or ship an e-mail reasonably than trying to unravel a problem face-to-face. In her function debut, director Hong Sung-eun explores this facet of contemporary life, how expertise forces us right into a state of isolation and the way we would welcome this improvement. On the similar time, the story additionally offers with the apparitions and ghosts which are created in a world of the emotionally disconnected.

Aloners” is screening at Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema

Her job at a name middle of a bank card firm doesn’t demand very a lot from Yu Jina (Gong Seung-yeon), who has no drawback with following the identical routine for each caller, making her essentially the most profitable worker. Aside from just a few quick exchanges along with her superior in addition to the occasional phrase along with her next-door neighbor, only a few face-to-face interactions outline her life. Jina largely retains to herself and likes to maintain it that means, which makes her father’s name, telling her in regards to the opening of her mom’s will, an actual burden, as she has to interact in dialog along with her estranged dad.

Nonetheless, there are just a few developments which begin to subtly change her routine. First, her boss asks her to coach a brand new worker, which Jina tries to keep away from, however is compelled to except she desires to be out of a job. Additionally, the sudden demise of her neighbor and the invention of a wierd video exhibiting the demise prior and after her mom’s demise make her more and more uncomfortable as she begins to query whether or not her way of life might also find yourself being her downfall.

On the floor, “Aloners” is a delicate drama a couple of girl and loneliness within the fashionable city panorama, however Hong Sung-eun has created one thing which is kind of fascinating and greater than as soon as even borders on being a ghost film. The quite a few callers in her workplace, her neighbor in addition to her personal mother and father have turn out to be kind of ghosts to the younger girl, who has, for some motive, determined to keep away from social interplay, particularly as her life is ok with out it and nobody calls for it of her. Gong Seung-yeon delivers one of many yr’s greatest performances, enjoying the position of an outsider (or ghost) by selection, however who’s compelled to vary her methods. Quite than counting on melodrama to inform the story, director Hong Seong-eun depends on his actors and the minimalist staging of scenes to, for instance, emphasize how one can turn out to be a ghost and a stranger to the world round her.

On the similar time, there may be one other layer to the story, which offers with the excellence (or the dearth thereof) between non-public and work life. When Jina’s boss orders the opposite workers to work more durable, spend much less time speaking with a shopper and stick with the protocol, we’re launched to the logic of world capitalism, projecting its ideas on individuals. Aside from the creation of ghosts as talked about earlier than, Seong-eun exhibits the way it establishes a protecting layer for the disconnected, as nothing should have an effect on them. This facet appears to be the inspiration of, for instance, Youngki Chois’s cinematography, which, particularly within the first half, imitates the attitude of the assorted screens the protagonist makes use of in her job in addition to her non-public life. There’s something chilly and distant about this method, which subtly shifts because the protagonist is about to undergo modifications herself.

In conclusion, “Aloners” is a superb drama about fashionable loneliness and isolation as points of contemporary life. Aside from its magnificent central efficiency, Hong Seong-eun’s function debut is a promising calling card, and we will solely hope to listen to extra from her sooner or later.

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