Seen in Jeonju

Daytime Drinking (2008)

9th January 2010

daytime drinkingOriginally posted July 12, 2009–Daytime Drinking is yet more proof that a huge budget and well-known actors are NOT needed to create an excellent, entertaining film.  The poster indicates that it has won several prizes at film festivals including the 2008 Jeonju International Film Festival’s JJ Star Award and the 2008 Locarno International Film Festival’s Netpac Award as well as being invited to compete at the Toronto and Thessaloniki International Film Festivals which indicates a high degree of critical acclaim as well. It is well-deserved. Director NoYeong-seok is a name to watch for in the future. Calling him merely ‘director’ is not really fair to Mr. No because he didn’t only direct this film. He was the producer, the cinematographer, the editor, the writer…he even wrote the music.  What is equally amazing is that he, and all the actors in this film, have no other movie credits to their names. This is the first film for all involved and I hope to see more in the near future.

The story centers around Hyeok-jin (played by Song Sam-dong), a man who has just broken up with his girlfriend. His friends invite him out for dinner and drinks to try to take his mind off his problems, but Hyeok-jin spends the night staring at the photos of his ex-girlfriend on his cellphone.  His friends make plans to take a road trip together to Jeongsan (a remote town in the eastern mountains).  Against his better judgement, Hyeok-jin agrees to meet his friends there, only to discover when he arrives, that his friends have just dim memories of making the plans as they had too much to drink and are actually  unable to go at all because of their work schedules.  That is but the first setback in a series of possible events that spiral out of control and combine to make the worst road trip ever for Hyeok-jin.

Actually Hyeok-jin is ready to turn around he go home on the spot, but he allows himself once more, against his better judgement, to be ‘helped’ by his friend Ki-sang (Yook Sang-yeob) into continuing his journey and to spend the night at an inn run by a friend of Ki-sang.  Unfortunately, anytime he is helped by someone, his situation becomes increasingly worse. One thing leads to another and eventually, when things seem to be looking up, he finds himself stranded in the middle of the mountains, without pants, money and phone, forced to rely on help from strangers. And as with every other time in the movie–help from anyone leads to an even worse situation.

I found Daytime Drinking to be a wonderful film. The casting and writing worked well together–although the characters are quirky, they are not over-the-top and could actually be people you might meet in real life. Hyeok-jin’s passive befuddlement is fun to watch as both the viewer realizes  Hyeok-jin’s mistakes long before his short-sighted nature allows him to do so. (This is especially well-demonstrated by the hilarious ending). Also deserving mention is the odd Ran-hee (played by Lee Ran-hee), the creepy truck driver (Shin Woon-seob) and the unusually friendly couple next door at the inn played by Tak Seong-joon and Kim Kang-hee.

Daytime Drinking had opened in general theaters back in February 2009 and is now available on DVD.  This is one you should watch for and see when you get the chance

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