The ever prolific Sangsoo marks his latest outing by teaming up with his first "star," in French actress Isabelle Huppert, and uses it to his sly and comic advantage. "In Another Country" is broken up into three segments, with Huppert playing a different character named Anne in each, who winds up speaking English to help communicate with the locals as she visits Mohang, South Korea. In the first part, Anne is a French director visiting a friend, in the second she's a married woman who comes to South Korea to have an affair, and in the last she's a rich divorcee who comes to the country to see an old pal and get over her divorce. As you might already be able to tell, there are some connections in each of the three parts in terms of character, but each story is separate and allows every Anne to fully take shape as a distinct being, with Huppert flexing some impressing acting muscle to get the job done.
If it all sounds a bit meta, it kind of is, but thankfully Sangsoo never gets too lost in his own self-referential narrative. Instead, he seems to make the goal of keeping things entertaining the first priority, and it mostly works. The initial segment is by far the most successful, wildly funny (thanks to Jungsang Yu who earns huge belly-laughs) and just plain enjoyable of the lot. Oddly enough, it's the least fish-out-of-water of the scenarios the film plays with, and yet it's the strongest piece. And thus it's too bad it's immediately followed by the worst piece (relatively speaking), a painfully slow shift to drama that doesn't quite work, though the final piece is a nice rebound, bringing back the playfulness of the first part and balancing it with the drama of the second part.
So, in the end, the latest from the prolific helmer is not so much slight as is it light, charming and funny by equal turns, with a pretty terrific performance by Huppert who seems to be having a lot of fun with the part(s). And within its own structural framework, and with a limited set of demands that it has to play to, "In Another Country" satisfyingly succeeds on its own terms. [B-]