Masters

The Day After

Hong Sangsoo

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Prolific Korean master Hong Sangsoo’s conversational comedy of errors intertwines the stories of an unfaithful publishing company manager and his new assistant, whom his wife mistakes as his former lover.

A new page in the cinematic journal of South Korean auteur Hong Sangsoo, The Day After is a magnificent study in romantic behaviour. Filmed with disarming honesty and grace, the prolific Hong's third film this year detours through Rohmerian territories, populated by characters devoted to analyzing their thoughts and emotions, its elegant, minimal frames bathed in hues of black and white.

Kim Bongwan (Kwon Haehyo), the manager of a small, independent publishing company, is recovering from his recent affair with Lee Changsook (Kim Saebyuk), his young, attractive, and now former, employee. Song Areum (the sublime Kim Minhee, muse of Hong's recent works) takes over Changsook's position, unaware of what has transpired and unprepared for the misguided wrath of Bongwan's furious wife (Cho Yunhee).

Fluid transitions back and forth in time and repetitions of almost identical scenes accompany the fascinating shifts between Bongwan's and Aerum's points of view, rendering with passionate grace an intimate portrait of the two protagonists. An exploration of innocence and deception, told elegantly, and filled with Hong's signature, alcohol-imbued restaurant takes, The Day After unfolds to the rhythm of an original musical score composed by the director himself, which underlines the dark and elegiac tone of his quiet masterpiece.

GIOVANNA FULVI

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