Daytime Drinking (2009)
directed & written by Noh Young-seok
starring Song Sam-dong, Yook Sang-yeob, Kim Kang-hee, Lee Ran-hee
Korean with English or French subtitles
The folks at Evokative Films were nice enough to send me an advance review copy of their latest DVD release Daytime Drinking which is available for preorder now and will be officially released on February 2.
The film centers around a young man who recently broken up decides to go on a little trip after a night of drinking but with each stranger he encounters he’s obligated to drink which leads to humourous situations. It starts off too slow in the beginning but eventually picks up the pace. Certainly the more interesting and funny stuff happens in the second half of the film. This is one of those films where the repetition of an act escalates into a series of increasingly absurd events. In this case that act is never refusing an alcoholic drink because in Korean culture when someone offers you a drink, you must accept it out of respect. There are also some coincidences and misunderstandings mixed in but for the most part I found these quite plausible and they made some of the awkward and funny moments even more awkward and funny. I wouldn’t say this film is laugh out loud funny but the comedy is understated yielding good chuckles. The story is well structured and is nicely capped off with a very apropos ending.
As for the audio and visual aspects, the original soundtrack (also composed by the director) which comprises four pieces is worth mentioning. They suit the film well with a couple of light, subdued tracks and a couple of louder, beat-heavy ones which can be played in their entirety from the dvd in the special features. The film is displayed in anamorphic widescreen and the video quality is not bad for such a low budget independent film. There is graininess up close particularly with the outdoor scenes but otherwise it doesn’t suffer much on a high definition TV. The film is not particularly colourful but that’s to be expected since it’s set in the winter time in the remote resort town of JeongSeon. The director chose to mainly shoot in locations that offered a lot of natural light which made the film resemble real life very much. Although it might look a bit drab its oddly fitting to the story in a way that I can’t explain.
Daytime Drinking is evidence that even with a low budget, a good story can be told. Although its slow start may be too much of a hindrance for many viewers.