Claire’s Camera was a feature presentation at the 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival, (SFfilm).
Equal parts think piece and mystery, the story unfolds when three Koreans and a French woman fly into France for the Cannes Film Festival. A series of random encounters bring together Manhee (Kim Minhee), a film sales assistant, and Claire (Isabelle Hubert), a camera-toting school teacher. The two become fast friends, both being lonely and at loose ends following an abrupt change in circumstances. Claire has lost her lover, Manhee just lost her job.
Manhee wants answers, her boss called her a liar and refused to offer up any credible examples. Could this have something to do with her one-night-stand with the self-centered director So Wansoo (Jung Jinyoung)? Turns out the director uses his excessive drinking to excuse his bad boy ways. Manhee’s former boss is his loyal fixer, always by his side.
Instead of catching the next plane home in shame, Manhee reinvents herself with another layer of makeup and hot pants, guaranteed attention, as she’s young and pretty. Running into Mr. Director, he’s oddly incensed at her supposedly cheap display, sure to garner the wrong kind of attention.
Perhaps Manhee’s boss is closer to the director than she thought. Meanwhile, Claire is taking Polaroids of everyone she meets. She has her own methods of investigating the truth, believing one’s soul is revealed through the eyes, and looking at photographs very slowly is the only way to change the course of events. Such a French way of presenting allegories of life, love, memory, and above all, the power of art to make a difference in people’s lives.