Followed by national release
Map and directions here
A Cinema Guild Release
|Kyungjin and Seongjun|
The next day he hooks up with Youngho, who's with his female friend Boram, who teaches -- surprise! -- film. Youngho, who is divorced, clearly has amorous feelings towards Boram. That evening the three of them go to a bar called "Novel." The bar's proprietress, Yejeon, bears an uncanny resemblance to Kyungjin, Seongjun's former girlfriend. (KIM Bokyung does double duty as both characters.)
The next two nights of Seongjun's visit are again spent at "Novel." There are various repetitions that occur. The proprietress is not at the bar when they arrive. Someone joins Seongjun after he steps outside to have a cigarette. Yejeon goes out to buy food from a nearby store. But these repetitions often include variations that are intriguing and somewhat mysterious, especially because none of the characters seem to notice them.
|Boram, Youngho and Seongjun|
Visually The Day He Arrives differs in two ways from the other four HONG films that I've seen. First off, it's in black and white, not color. Personally I found this change was quite suitable to HONG's material and aesthetic. His movies can reasonably be likened to a cinematic counterpart to George's description of the show that he and Jerry pitched on Seinfeld: "a show about nothing." In HONG's films much time is spent wandering around doing mundane, routine things such as sitting in a park, waiting to get a haircut, and most often of all, eating and drinking. Nothing much seems to happen. But what's always going on is an intriguing, often wryly witty exploration of relationships between the characters. The use of black and white seemed to bring this more into the forefront.
Another variation pertains to HONG's trademark zooms. Here he sometimes employs pans and tilts in conjunction with the zooms. The effect is a much more "cinematic" look, a gentle illusion of camera movement when it actually remains mounted on a non-moving tripod. HONG does continue to eschew tracking or dolly shots. This approach may be for aesthetic or financial reasons or both. Personally, I believe it's to allow for quicker set-ups and tear-downs, thereby reducing the cost of filming.
|Seongjun and Yejeon|
The Day He Arrives opens in New York this Friday; a national release will follow. While I've enjoyed and appreciated the other four films by him that I've seen thus far, I liked TDHA the most. MY ACF Rating for it is 3.5 out of four stars; very highly recommended.