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55th San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
9:00 p.m. The Day He Arrives
Hong Sang-soo (South Korea, 2011)

(Book chon bang hyang). High Modernist master of contemporary South Korean cinema Hong Sang-soo returns, and then returns again, to his cherished tableaux of endlessly looped and ever loopier time travels in his latest tale of Seoul and its sad-sack cineastes. A black-and-white variation on Hong’s now-trademark twice-told tales about increasingly drunken filmmakers (this time incarnated by actor Yu Jun-sang) embarking on doomed journeys to reunite with mistreated old flames, the movie is both a comedy of errors (men rarely look more foolish than under Hong’s withering eye) and a nightmare vision of a tormented creator ten times darker than Barton Fink. For long-standing Hong fans, many of The Day He Arrives’s eccentric and occasionally surrealist mannerisms may seem all but folkloric: characters who double one another, or scenes that recur with varying conclusions. Even the flaky Euro-zoom-ins Hong has been using since 2004’s Woman Is the Future of Man now feel like auteurist flourishes, though they’re even funnier this time around—a bit like the zoom-ins in Buñuel’s final films, tightening in on characters as they begin to narrate us off on some new plot tangent, never to return. Except that Hong’s characters always do, over and over again, to hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking effect.

—Chuck Stephens

• Written by Hong. Photographed by Kim Hyung-koo. With Yu Jun-sang, Kim Sang-joong, Kim Bok-yung, Song Sun-mi. (79 mins)

Tickets on sale March 30. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Buy Tickets

Advance tickets March 27–30. BAM/PFA members may purchase advance tickets online between March 27 and 30 by clicking the link below and entering a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Purchase Advance Member Tickets