The Day He Arrives (2012)
A film director who no longer makes films, Seongjun, arrives in Seoul to meet a close friend. When the friend doesn't show up, Seongjun wanders the city aimlessly. He runs into an actress he used to know, shares a drink with some film students and against his better judgment, heads to his ex-girlfriend's apartment. The next day goes very much like the last; Seongjun meets the actress, has drinks with friends, and falls for woman who looks remarkably like his ex-girlfriend. Each new day plays out like a flimsy copy of the previous one, but only Seongjun knows why. Infused with a playfulness and dry wit that recalls the films of Woody Allen and Eric Rohmer, The Day He Arrives is a delightful meditation on relationships, filmmaking, and the unknowable forces that govern our lives. -- (C) Official Site … More
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Critics Consensus: The Lucky One Can't Catch a Break
– Rotten Tomatoes
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Critic Reviews for The Day He Arrives
The ideas at the heart of The Day He Arrives are worth puzzling over and the discussion to follow may be the real reward, but the experience is muted.
Hong may be copying a template from his earlier movies about flailing directors (Like You Know It All, Woman on the Beach), but each film is unique, punctuated by occasional zooms that underline the randomness of existence.
The listless execution may remind you less of 8 1/2 than of Woody Allen's whiny Stardust Memories.
Sang-soo Hong has no profound point to pound home. His story doesn't need an ending. He accepts all the characters just as they are.
Hong abstracts the tense network of fragile relationships to crisp, briskly sketched lines that he adorns with bubbly and self-deprecating humor and graceful wonders...
Hong offers a strange mixture of magic, mystery, rueful melodrama and dry comedy that's like absolutely nothing else.
The geometry of human relationships is the main theme of The Day He Arrives.
The movie becomes an exploration, both playful and rueful, of desire, narrative and the idea beautifully expressed by Faulkner in "Absalom, Absalom!" that "maybe nothing ever happens once and is finished."
Even while The Day He Arrives doesn't come to much-at least not in comparison to some of Hong's other films, such as 2006's brilliant Woman On The Beach-it's still time well spent.
A 25-words-or-less pitch for The Day He Arrives-shot in luminous black-and-white-might go something like: "Hong Sang-soo does Groundhog Day."
Hong is wonderful with atmospheric effects, using whirling snowfalls to place his characters' inchoate longing in relief.
I always forget how funny Hong's films are until I'm in the middle of their deadpan variations on a by now standard theme of immature, self-involved men and accommodating women fooling themselves.
The ensemble acting is pitch perfect, and no-frills photography makes Seoul's streets a functional but characterful stage for this subtlest of farces.
Audience Reviews for The Day He Arrives
A director arrives in Seoul to meet an old friend; he gets drunk, meets various people, and then situations start to repeat with variations, characters who've met before act like they've never been introduced, and he meets a bar owner who looks and acts exactly like his ex-girlfriend. Well made but it's never clear what the movie is trying to say or, more importantly, why we should care.More
In "The Day He Arrives," Sungjoon(Jun-Sang Yu) decides to take off some time from his day job as a film director to visit Seoul, so he can look up some old friends. First is Kyungjin(Bo-kyeong Kim), an old flame. Then there is Youngho(Sung Jung Kim) who does not recognize the feelings he has for Boram(Seon-mi Song).
The only things that really set apart "The Day He Arrives" from Sang-soo Hong's other films is that it is filmed in black and white and is set in Seoul. But aside from a few exterior shots and a civil defense drill, this could have just easily been Omaha. Perhaps realizing that he is simply repeating himself, Sang-soo Hong decided to make the entire movie one whole long Mobius Strip which you have to admit is kind of different. And actually not that long at 78 minutes.
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