There is a formal adventurousness here typical of Kurosawa, who has seesawed between genres both throughout his career (horror, sci-fi, and dramas like Tokyo Sonata) and within individual films (Doppelganger transitions from a loss-of-identity thriller to a sort of satirical romance). The constant element is a sure-footed aesthetic precision.
In 24 Frames, the boundary that separates still photograph from motion picture proves to be beside the point, much as it is immaterial to the impact of the heady Kiarostami romance Certified Copy whether the central couple are long-term partners or total strangers.
Throughout his career he has chronicled life on the margins to find beauty where others only see barren squalor. Rather than a rhetorical stance, his commitment to lost causes stems from a genuine contempt for conformism, while the anti-naturalism of his dramaturgy abstains from sentimentalism and emotional manipulation.
Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory have produced a film that simultaneously analyzes and dramatizes issues of sexuality, religious identity, and, once again, privilege and yet without straining against its clearly marked narrative boundaries.
If Hong is indeed the best that we have got, there is something troubling about this fact. For it should detract nothing from the integrity of his body of work to say that, when taken altogether, it is a quintessential expression of a cinema of disappointment and diminished expectations.