The Day He Arrives (2011)
dir: Hong Sang-Soo
I’m not sure how people can actually review this movie. Based on the rather uninteresting and seemingly self-indulgent premise, I was expecting myself to be bored out of mind with this movie. Yet to my surprise I was not. It’s about a film director who’s visiting Seoul for a few days to meet up with a friend and to ponder whether he will ever make another film again. He walks around and talks with people and that’s it. He philosophizes a bit and every woman he meets seems to be interested in him to some degree yet he still pines for that one special woman.
This is mostly a talky film, even when nobody’s lips are moving you have the main character’s voice-over doing narration. The film is also in black and white other than the opening credits where the cast names appear in white over a solid red background. At first I thought it didn’t fit for this film to be in black and white but there is this recurring theme of woman often thinking of themselves as having a personality composed of two extremes. Scenes and conversations also recur as well hinting at something deeper perhaps.
The film isn’t as obtuse as one would expect an arthouse film to be but like an arthouse film you kind of wonder what purpose the film serves. Does the director figure out his film-making future? If you can find the answer in this film, you’re either really perceptive or making it up. Of course, maybe that’s not the point but then what is? This is an okay film I guess but certainly no big loss if you didn’t see it yourself.