Movie: The Day He Arrives Revised romanization: Bukchon Banghyang Hangul: 북촌방향 Genre: Drama Director: Hong Sang-Soo Producer: Jeon Won-Sa World Premiere: May, 2011 (Cannes Film Festival) Release Date: September 8, 2011 Runtime: 79 min. Language: Korean Country: South Korea IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1922561/
Cast: Yu Jun-Sang - Sung-Joon Song Seon-Mi Kim Bo-Kyung Kim Sang-Jung - Young-Ho Baek Jong-Hak
Plot: Official selection, Un Certain Regard, 2011 Cannes Film Festival
Yoo Sungjoon (Yu Jun-sang) has just arrived in Seoul from the countryside and tells us through voiceover that he's just passing through and that he's going to see a friend and take it easy. But we, knowing that this is a Hong Sang-soo film, know better. In Seoul, Sungjoon, an erstwhile filmmaker, runs into a curious cast of characters: some old colleagues, fans he doesn't remember the names of, collaborators who want nothing to do with him, strange women who clearly like him, waitresses who look like ex-lovers. And of course there will be drinking. And sex. And tears. And awkwardness that shows how quickly men will crack when properly inebriated and when placed in the same room together.
Nobody shoots soju banter better than Hong Sang-soo, and even though his films all have the same basic subject matter, Hong is able to play with structure to explore new themes in each. Partway through the easy-going minutiae of DAY HE ARRIVES, situations start reoccurring in uncanny ways. Is Sungjoon reliving the same arrival? Is it still the day he arrived? Is the butterfly effect playing tricks on us? Or are Sungjoon’s days and encounters with people all so random, repetitive, and strange that this could simply be the daze of his drunken stupor? The Groundhog Day-type repetitions become a lovely (though deliciously awkward) rumination on chance and love, which Hong started to develop in his last masterpiece Hahaha. – Brian Hu