Featured Image courtesy of San Diego Asian Film Festival.

Director Kim Hee-Jung’s 2019 film “A French Woman” was a unique psychological thriller with a woman trying to find an escape from her situation.

Mira Lee (Kim Ho-jung, “Family Matters”) settled in Paris many years ago but returned to meet up with friends after separating from her husband Jules (Alexandre Guansé, “La Consolation”). While her two theater academy friends chat about the past, Mira somehow relives the event. The blend of the times create a weary confusion and she struggles to stay awake and keep up. However things become a real concern when she tells her friends that she dreams of their dead friend Haerun. (Ryu Abel, “My Mister”) The three try to maintain a cheerful atmosphere but it is difficult when the dark drama comes into play.

“A French Woman” was a very complex film with many layers. While there are clear cuts and transitions, some of the shifts between Korean and Paris memories were so subtle. Both Mira and the audience started to lose a sense of reality when the many interactions seem so natural for the characters. There times where it even leaned on the fourth wall with the friends’ conversations and locations that possibly gave clues to her actual state.
SDAFF Program Director Christina Ree gave a small introduction before the movie’s screening. She spoke how “A French Woman” was partially biographical due to Director Kim being a female director who used to live in Paris. It was interesting to see the dialogue between the characters and some of their plights as artists. They discussed things like leaving the scene like Mira did and finding new, younger talent. It was a part of the “rabbit hole” as Ree called that viewers will go down watching the film. Viewers discretion is advised due to brief scenes of nudity and seuxal activity. 

For more information, check out SDAFF’s page of “A French Woman”. Hopefully there will be more chances  for those in the States to see it beyond its North American premiere.