The Day He Arrives
(Book chon bang hyang)
Dennis Lim is a film curator, teacher, and writer. He is currently the artistic director of the New York Film Festival and was director of programming at Film at Lincoln Center from 2013 to 2022. His most recent monograph, Tale of Cinema, focuses on that film to explore Hong’s oeuvre.
Yoo Joon-sang, Kim Sang-jung, Song Seon-mi, Kim Bo-kyung,
Four characters in search of a drink find themselves saying the same things in the same bar, over and over again, in Hong’s most Buñuelian take on the desire for human connection. A former film director visits Seoul from his exile in the boonies, looking for an old friend; the two finally meet up and head out with the friend’s colleague and a mysterious bar owner (who, strangely, looks just like the director's ex-lover) to drink, talk, and flirt, barely. And then, just as they leave, it starts all over again. “A soju-fueled cross between Last Year at Marienbad and Groundhog Day” (James Quandt, Artforum).