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746 Ratings

The Day He Arrives

Book chon bang hyang

Directed by Hong Sang-soo
South Korea, 2011


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 for three days, grabbing drinks and meeting women, with each day playing out like a version of the last.

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The Day He Arrives Directed by Hong Sang-soo
Hong abstracts the tense network of fragile relationships to crisp, briskly sketched lines that he adorns with bubbly and self-deprecating humor as well as graceful wonders (including some of the most heartbreaking snowflakes in recent cinema). In Hong’s ardent view, tenderness, nostalgia, joy, and the promise of creation are the rewards of wide-eyed bewilderment: the adventures and misadventures of an idle filmmaker are nothing if not a script on the wing.
May 27, 2016
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…The Day He Arrives rewards careful scrutiny, revealing its immense depth only after close inspection. What seems arbitrary or merely a function of naturalism—not only the conversational nature of the dialogue, but the film’s drifting, almost lackadaisical pace—ultimately proves to be the product of a deliberate, precisely calibrated structure, one whose exactness accounts for not only the overall architecture of the narrative, but, more impressively, each individual shot, cut and zoom.
July 02, 2013
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If ever a movie warranted a video essay to help break it down, this is the film, because so much of what makes it so beguiling is bound to pass over one’s head, at least upon an initial viewing, as was my experience. Much of the film’s delights come from a sense of disorientation, as moments seem to recur again and again, though in slight variations from one to the next, leading one to continually ask, "Didn’t I see that before?
March 21, 2013
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