Magazine article Screen International

'The Day After': Cannes Review

Magazine article Screen International

'The Day After': Cannes Review

Article excerpt

Korea's most prolific director delivers more of the same in his third film - so far - this year

Dir. Hong Sangsoo. Korea. 2017. 92 mins.

Pretty much the archetypal Hong Sangsoo film, The Day After combines many of the director's prefered themes: mistaken identity; infidelity, repetition and long soju-sodden conversations across dinner tables. However, all but the most dedicated fans of the director's work might find this story a little too diffuse and meandering, its rewards too deeply buried beneath the evasive wordiness.

There is is a sense that Hong Sangsoo might be spreading himself a little thinly

This is one of two films by the director which screen in Cannes this year; the other, Claire's Camera, was placed in an Out of Competition slot. Given that Hong also had a film in competition at Berlin this year, there is is a sense that he might be spreading himself a little thinly. Neither as formally playful as Right Now, Wrong Then, nor as intriguing and elliptical as Yourself And Yours, this is a minor addition to the director's canon. As such, it will appeal most to committed fans and completists on the festival circuit. Although the presence of The Handmaiden's poised star Kim Min-hee in the cast might raise its profile, theatrical prospects for the film might be limited outside of territories in which the director's name is a selling point.

Shot in sparse black and white, in a series of long takes, the film explores the relationship between a boss of a publishing company (Kwon Haehyo) and three women. A fractured timeline makes the plot needlessly complicated at times. An opening shot, which, like most of the key scenes, plays out across a table while noodles are slurped and soju is sipped, introduces us to the man and his wife (Cho Yun-hee). "Your face has changed," she says, troubled, before accusing him of having an affair. He laughs, a kind of panicky, embarrassed mirthless cough; stares into his bowl, and avoids answering. …

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