December 10, 2009

In Between Days: Be Quiet and You'll Hear the Sound of Young Hearts Dying

Aimie (Kim Jiseon) wants to get laid. Since she's just a teenager that's a radical thing to say but it's true and she's set her sites on Tran (Taegu Andy Kang), a fellow Korean-American who like her doesn't seem too engaged with life in general in Nowheresville, USA. They're two drifters-in-the-making: He's drifting towards drugs; she's drifting toward oblivion. Before either of them gets there in Kim So Yong's In Between Days, we'll watch them do a lot of mundane things like riding buses, doing laundry, drinking coffee, and doodling in a notebook. They should be studying! They have their whole lives ahead of them!! But it's hard to get excited about tomorrow when today is so bland, so barren, so quiet. Pause. Pause. The dialogue in this movie is insisently flat. It's as if Kim is afraid that having anyone say anything profound, even accidentally, will make her film seem false. To keep it true, she adheres to a stylized hypernaturalism that's all about boots trudging in snow, and Aimie's one-way conversations with her father who probably returned to Korea just to have more people to talk to. When you see Aimie's mom (Kim Bokja) crying on the couch, you don't ask why. Life's a sad enterprise. There were days when you cried about it too.

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