In Our Day
우리의 하루Directed by Hong Sang-soo
Cast: Ki Joobong, Kim Minhee, Song Sunmi
Official Selection, 2023 Cannes Film Festival
As in many a Hong Sang-soo film, IN OUR DAY begins with casualness – a cat, a visit, conversation over food. And underneath the deceptively ordinary surface, something profound is unfolding; in fact, the plainer the surface, the more we want to find it. This time, mundane pleasures are no longer just a methodology; here they are Hong’s charming rebuff to searching for answers, even to the film’s own tantalizing coincidences and musings around intimacy and the arc of an artistic career.
In two separate yet uncannily symmetrical stories, Kim Min-hee stars as a prematurely retired actor staying with a friend, and Ki Joo-bong plays a popular poet in his 70s followed by a documentarian. A third person joins each scenario when a young admirer knocks on their doors, hungry for wisdom on impossibly big questions – how to become a great actor and the meaning of life. The older artists awkwardly dodge their urgency and instead enjoy the minor events and satisfactions before them: ramen with extra chili paste, a lost cat named Us, talking to plants. And as the poet once suspiciously famous for soju and cigarettes sips non-alcoholic beer with his fans, his old appetites provide some sly will-he or won’t-he suspense.
Hong Sang-soo’s ever-proliferating filmography explores multiple angles within his personal garden of blooms, and IN OUR DAY layers into the rest like a new dab of paint. His camera is as playful as ever as his productions get increasingly light footed. With a decided use of available light and sound, a crew of two plus a few returning actors, the production itself is as casual as its characters, as if to say – whatever we need is right in front of us.
– Christina Ree
Spotlight Sponsor: Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles (KCCLA).