Night and Day (Bam gua nat) (2009)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Anthology is thrilled to present the New York Theatrical Premiere Run of NIGHT AND DAY by gifted Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo, who has established himself as world cinema's poet of male narcissism, desire, and neurosis. For more than a decade now he has been quietly but consistently turning out a series of films that are somehow both self-effacing and bold, behavioral and formally experimental, including masterpieces such as VIRGIN STRIPPED BARE BY HER BACHELORS, TURNING GATE, and TALE OF CINEMA. His most recent film to hit North American shores (the feverishly prolific Hong has already lapped us, with an even newer film - LIKE YOU KNOW IT ALL - premiering at Cannes last May) finds him experimenting with a change of scene - set in Paris rather than Korea, NIGHT AND DAY adds the element of cultural confusion to his usual thematic arsenal. After getting busted for smoking pot with some students, 40-year-old artist Seong-nam impulsively flees to Paris, leaving his wife behind, and finds himself living in a kind of limbo. Staying in a run-down hotel inhabited mostly by fellow Korean ex-pats, Seong-nam wanders aimlessly around the city, becoming ensnared by temptation in the form of both an ex-flame, and a couple of young art students. Leisurely, episodic, sharp, and deeply funny, NIGHT AND DAY finds Hong working at the height of his powers. -- (C) Anthology … More
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Critic Reviews for Night and Day (Bam gua nat)
The South Korean director Hong Sang-soo unleashes yet another emotionally stunted antihero in Night and Day, a rambling study of male arrested development.
Finally, he arrives at a masterfully deployed bit of third-act rug-pulling so unexpected that it may be Hong's way of saying we are all stumbling toward an uncertain horizon.
Very Korean in its emotional content, while also preserving a quizzical distance that is quite French, pic is one of his lightest and most easily digestible metaphysical meals to date.
Our muscular antihero protagonist turns out to be the lost soul from Seoul, whose utterances of love and seemingly sincere actions always remain suspect.
Audience Reviews for Night and Day (Bam gua nat)
On the run from the law in his native South Korea, Seong-nam(Kim Yeong-ho), an art student, ends up in Paris where he lives in a guesthouse room with ten other people. Seeking a little elbow room, he hangs out in the lounge where he reads the only available book, the Bible. He also gets out from time to time, reconnecting with Min-seon(Kim Yoo-jin), an ex-girlfriend.
Like its sort of protagonist who is barely intriguing enough to be of interest, "Night and Day" is a shambling and random movie, along with being very episodic and improvised. But even from thousands of miles away, the movie does have some incisive things to say about South Korea, namely how strict the laws there are concerning smoking marijuana.(Like you need a reason to visit Paris, anyway.) And the North Korean character, Keong-soo(Lee Sun-kyun), is a nice touch.
A hilarious film about a 40 year old painter who leaves his wife for Paris after being sought by the police for smoking pot. Wracked by unemployment, loneliness, and idleness, he occupies his time with chasing after local Korean women.
Hong's known for his critical portrayal of male egos and narcissism. Some have aptly described Hong's films as being about "drunk Korean douchebags" and "people getting drunk and looking stupid trying to fuck each other". Here the main character Sung-nam is an awkward, indecisive, and impulsive lump of a man. One particularly hilarious episode in the film illustrates his qualities beautifully. Sung-nam invites his old flame to a hotel to have sex, but at the last second changes his mind and reads to his nearly naked partner a passage from the Bible about how sinners must gauges out their eyes before succumbing to their lust. Later that day he calls his wife and asks her to masturbate to him over the phone. The women lack no human fallacies of their own. During a road trip, the two roommates react bitterly over their competition for Sung-nam, using petty complaints like refusing to pay for the gas as excuses for their jealous behavior. The humor in general works extremely well because it is rooted in stuff like petty jealousies that are completely believable and relatable, even if they can be awkward to watch. To his credit Hong handles all the human relationships with subtlety and in an understated manner.
Since the narrative takes place over several months, Hong adopts a anecdotal, diary-like structure, with title cards marking the progression of dates. Hong's treatment of the Parisian setting with all its daily ambiance of the city reminds me of Rivette, not to mention the Rivette-like length of the film. What's particularly interesting is that the film takes a page out of Luis Bu˝uel in its deceptive and hilariously surreal dream sequences. There's even a toe-sucking scene inspired by L'Age D'Or. The Bu˝uel tribute makes sense since both directors were interested in exploring human desire and how social norms clashes with base human instincts.
Charming and rather entertaining when you think i is a 2 hours 30 minutes long dairy about a non-painting painter.
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