The most intriguingly circumscribed romance of the year, In Between Days locates two Korean teens at a precarious point in their relationship. Director So Yong Kim deliberately shuns cultural specificity, keeping her camera tight around Aimie (Jiseon Kim), a recent immigrant from Korea, in order to stress the sense of suffocating remove that might affect a lonely young person living within the walls of a foreign city’s Koreatown. The director’s experiment in non-description can be frustrating (where are we? United States? Canada?), but it is also very poetic and humane (totally Dardennian), getting as it does to the core of the pain that comes with cultural assimilation. In Between Days is also an oddly gripping show of sexual one-upmanship, and something of a fuck-you to reprocessed cheese like When Harry Met Sally that passes for an authentic depiction of the way genders relate to one another. Aimie is fond of her friend Tran (Taegu Andy Kang), whom she tattoos as a favor to him but also as a desperate means of marking her territory, and though the boy doesn’t seem to return her feelings, that doesn’t stop him from asking her for a handjob or waiting for her to go to sleep so he can feel her up. Aimie and Tran’s relationship seems defined entirely by the games they play with each other: she quits an English course in order to buy him a bracelet, which he accepts in spite of the baggage attached to the gesture; he woos a pretty, completely Americanized Korean girl, Michelle (Gina Kim), in order to give Aimie the hint she just won’t get; and Aimie asks him to beg her to stay with him when his parents throw him out of the house. Implicit in their combativeness is a sense that Aimie’s attraction to Tran has something to do with circumstance, and that he may be denying his feelings for her out of some misguided sense of cool. Over and over again, the film brings to mind the exactingness with which Abdellatif Kechiche’s L’Esquive understood the commonality of teenage experience but also the sense of remoteness felt by young people of color who are just trying to fit in with everyone else.
- Kino International
- 82 min
- So Yong Kim
- So Yong Kim
- Jiseon Kim, Taegu Andy Kang, Bokja Kim, Gina Kim, Virginia Wu, Mike Park
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