Hahaha was plagued with “technical difficulties” at both exhibition and production. In the theater, the sound cut out multiple times and there were a set of festival sponsorships overlaid during, what seemed like, critical narrative moments. On the set, Hong’s camera had a distracting tendency to a displaced, radial focus that would have your eyes cast here, there, and anywhere but the presumed subject of the frame. In addition, the subtitles were set in a barely discernible font.
Although I’d have to see this film again to provide any kind of analysis, and in truth, even to provide an accurate synopsis, I can say that there’s something there — something in the framing device, whose black & white stills and up-close sound beckoned two friends Gun-Bae'ing over Soju-and-stories to a personal sort of nearness; something in the characters' decision-making, whose strategies would range from the existential to the romantic and idealistic; something in the laugh that obscures depression, belittles the inflated constitution, and speaks through its absence. Hahaha was something.
- Hahaha (Hong Sang-soo 2010) @ Sundance Kabuki Cinemas #SFIFF