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In Our Day ★★★★



Director: Hong Sang-soo

Cast: Ki Joo-bong, Kim Min-hee, Song Sun-mi, Park Miso, Ha Seong-guk, Kim Seung-yun   

Released: Cannes Film Festival 2023

The yearly cinematic calendar always has a few guarantees a prequel, sequel, re-boot and at least two films from Hong Sang-soo. The Korean auteur’s impact on arthouse cinema is unparalleled and has made him the true successor to Eric Rohmer in the 21st century. Earlier this year, he premiered in water at Berlinale, which was one of his finest films to date. He has returned to Quinzaine des cinéastes at Cannes Film Festival 2023 with In Our Day with his regular collaborators Kim Min-hee and Ki Joo-bong.

Set in Seoul, the film follows two alternating conversations: an actress is solicited by an amateur, and an old poet hosts a fan. The two stars dodge the existential questions of their guests with food, alcohol, guitar playing and naps, games with a cat and rock, paper, scissors. The actress is considering giving up her career; the poet is struggling with alcohol and tobacco withdrawal.

Hong Sang-soo delivers probably his most Sang-soo film to date. In Our Day is a beautifully eloquent discussion of life and wisdom. It’s the simplistic execution of passing on the torch and intricate exploration of life’s big queries that makes it endearing. Like most of the auteur’s films, he lets the dialogue tell the tale. The enrichening essence of life flows through each scene, and while at some moments you might wonder, do we need to talk in this much detail about ramen paste? We do as the spice of life comes in all shapes and sizes.

Utilising the Sang-soo tried and tested static camera motif and occasional zooming; you can sense the intense emotions within each room in the film. The restrictions within the scenery allow the conversation to flow naturally. Each person’s experience with Hong Sang-soo is different, but there are always lessons to learn from him. The symbolism of passing on the torch is something we see pretty potently within In Our Day. The director himself has now made over 30 feature films and still has a lot to share. Throughout the runtime, you can feel Sang-soo embracing the future, allowing audiences to see the world through his eyes.

Frequent collaborators of Sang-soo truly shine within this film. Ki Joo-bong & Kim Min-hee give profound performances yet again but with much more depth. Min-hee, Sang-soo’s muse, brings so much to the table and offers one of her best performances in film. At the same time, Joo-bong continues to thrive in the Sang-soo Multiverse. His delivery is organically natural, and every word has a purpose for this ageing poet. While it’s hard to top in water, Hong Sang-soo knocks it out of the park with In Our Day—one of the most delicately intriguing conversationalist films of the 21st century.

Lover of all things indie and foreign language. Can be found rambling on YouTube at times!

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