The Day He Arrives + The Day After
3:00 The Day He Arrives (79m) | 35mm
In this signature Hong film, a creatively blocked director currently teaching film (Yoo Joon-sang) arrives in Seoul to meet with an old friend, only for that friend to seemingly stand him up. He then sets about wandering the streets, encountering several women and drinking a fair amount of soju along the way. The night draws to a close and a new day dawns, though this new day feels suspiciously similar to the one that preceded it… An audacious, Buñuelian black-and-white experiment in repetition, narrative time, and casting, The Day He Arrives encapsulates many of the themes and formal strategies that continue to inform Hong’s work today.
4:45 The Day After (91m)
Shot in moody black and white, The Day After opens with book publisher Bongwan (Kwon Hae-hyo) fending off his wife’s heated accusations of infidelity. At the office, it’s the first day for his new assistant, Areum (Kim Min-hee), whose predecessor was Bongwan’s lover. Mistaken identity, repetition compulsion, and déjà vu figure into the narrative, as the film entangles its characters across multiple timelines through an intricate geometry of desire, suspicion, and betrayal. The end result is one of Hong’s most plaintive and philosophical works. An NYFF55 Main Slate selection.