‘Night and Day’ is Long and Leisurely

[9 March 2012]

By Michael Barrett

Hong Sang-Soo has been glibly but accurately tagged as South Korea’s equivalent of Eric Rohmer, a filmmaker closely observing people in their romantic mix-ups, deceptions and evolutions. I first noticed him with Woman on the Beach, a dry, leisurely comedy that was also a look at creativity: Does the artist’s girlfriend distract him from work, or is she the basis of it?

The new DVD release Night and Day raises the Rohmer factor by actually dropping its hero in Paris. He’s another artist, a painter we never see paint a lick. He flees to Paris because he’s afraid of being busted for smoking pot with Americans in his own country. He wanders around having conversations in the Korean expatriate community, constantly fabricating himself and his motives, until he falls into a relationship with a girl who’s a big liar like himself. Perhaps he’s waiting for redemption to fall upon him out of the blue. By the way, he’s married, and his left-at-home wife is ready to take matters in hand. The film is long and leisurely, like the hero’s undirected rambling, yet sly and unpredictable enough to maintain interest.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/154876-night-and-day/