The Day He Arrives ★★★½

A Hong in which I admit I didn't catch the gimmick until later reflecting on it, but what I instead focused on was the elements of Hong's every day reality and how we attempt to craft narrative on to it. Each action must have meaning, each coincidence must be a form a fate, and the dichotomies of our lives must be insightful into the way we lives. Like the titular Oki's Movie, Hong plays with parallel tracks in order to see how different placements of atoms (characters) within the cell can create perspectives otherwise hidden. But here he acknowledges that outside of the fiction, quantum chaos rules these atomic parallels; these are just happenstance, and the formulas that seem to be in place often make no sense.

In terms of a unique visual language, one of the most interesting things about The Day He Arrives is how often Hong holds the take not on his protagonists but those observing him leaving. And probably one of the most shocking cuts is the film is during the argument between the director and the actor, Hong suddenly cuts to an establishing shot before returning into the scene (something I think I've only otherwise seen in Ozu's The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice). In a film about perspective and trying to see the whole, Day is a film about little connections that we use to inform our lives without realizing they're uselessness; the only thing looking for these perspectives can do is illuminate your own point of view. Looking at the world, only leads to a final camera staring back at you.

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