Serves as an amusing itinerary of dining, drinking and sexual dalliance that beguilingly plays with narrative time.
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But at his best - and his new movie, The Day He Arrives, is among his very best - Hong offers a strange mixture of magic, mystery, rueful melodrama and dry comedy that's like absolutely nothing else.
Maintains a funny and sad focus on its single petulant subject.
The geometry of human relationships is the main theme of Hong Sang-soo's The Day He Arrives.
An agreeably meandering exercise that brings some clever French New Wave fillips and structural repetitions to Hong's characteristically boozy party. Rougher but more approachable than his previous "Oki's Movie."
A 25-words-or-less pitch for The Day He Arrives - shot in luminous black-and-white - might go something like: "Hong Sang-soo does Groundhog Day."
The Day He Arrives has real force and its experimentation is in the service of a moving story about a man who, as he says at the start, has nowhere to go. And so he returns to a bar, a woman and situations that are always the same and yet always different - snow falls during one kiss but not another - playing a director whose life resembles a movie he keeps remaking.
Like Rohmer, Hong is wonderful with atmospheric effects, using whirling snowfalls to place his characters' inchoate longing in relief.
The Day He Arrives is a talky movie, full of long, boozy scenes and cosmic coincidences - and in that it echoes Allen, as well as Luis Buñuel, Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, and the best of British kitchen-sink drama.
The movie finds the right tone to present its bittersweet wisdom. It's relaxed. It's content to observe and listen.