Saturday, October 20, 2012
The Day He Arrives
Writes Roger Ebert: There is a particular kind of loneliness I might describe this way: You are alone in a city away from home, on a bright and cold winter day, with the streets almost empty. The friend you have come to visit isn't at home, and you have nothing to do. This could be the setup of a story by Kafka, or like the dream that opens "Wild Strawberries." It begins "The Day He Arrives," a beautiful and melancholy film by South Korea's Sang-soo Hong. Critics have called it a comedy, but it isn't funny ha-ha. It's more like — funny, life is like that.
The young man alone in Seoul is Seong-jun (Yu Jun-sang). We learn he is a movie director who has completed four films but now lives in the country and has stopped working. He is in town to visit an old friend who is a film critic. He talks to us on the soundtrack: "I will walk around, go to a book store and buy some books, eat some good food…" Once I was stranded in Toronto on a below-zero January day by a grounded flight and made just such an announcement to anyone who could read my mind.