THE DAY AFTER
Directed by Hong Sang-soo
Official Selection, 2017 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 Toronto International Film Festival
On her first day working at a publishing house, the fresh-faced Areum discovers that the assistant she is replacing was also the former mistress of the boss. She awkwardly proceeds until she’s slapped in the face by the boss’s wife, who sniffs a third party and takes it out on the only woman at his office. Comedic blowups of misrecognitions, almost-indiscretions, and drunken dallying are interspersed between quiet scenes of reflective conversation, sending the film into a stirring cave of philosophical – even ethical – contemplation that’s remarkably honest for a Hong Sang-soo farce.
Perhaps we can attribute this turn to the presence of Kim Min-hee, ascending quickly into the pantheon of the world’s best current actors, and whose recent collaborations with Hong have inured his work with a remorse that has eluded the more rampageous tendencies that have made him legend. Overcast with melancholy and black and white, THE DAY AFTER elegantly observes, rather than mocks, his four wayward spirits, and the experiments of repetition and doubling that have made Hong’s previous work so revolutionary here becomes a cinematic rondo for romantic lament. Still sneaky, still hilarious, THE DAY AFTER is the yin to Claire’s Camera’s yang, and a graceful reminder that even within Hong’s chamber of tricks, there are wonders yet to be discovered. –Brian Hu
Co-Presented by: Korean American Coalition of San Diego