Firstup in the”Some Day” omnibus is “Change of the Season”, from director Choi Jin-hyeok-I. It’s about Yeon-joo (played by Choi Soo-in), a late elementary school student who collects Pokemon stickers as a distraction from a lonely home life. Yeon-joo’s parents are split up, and Yeon-joodoesn’t like acknowledging this.She’s at an age of keen weakness.So instead, Yeon-joo wanders Ulsan in constant ennui.
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that Choi Soo-in was also the lead actress in “The World of Us”. “Change of the Seasons” is for all practical intents the same story, just without the disappointment. Which is actually a good thing. Because Yeon-joo’s expectations are so low, life by herself where normally there should be a family is surprisingly tolerable. That’s as close to a happy ending as you’re going to get but hey, it’s better than nothing.
Next is “Lola”, from director Jeon Seon-ho. Lola (played by Kim Young-seo) was a dancer in college who moved out to the country whenshe got married, in one of those dual farm / guest house arrangements that’s popular in areas with enough tourist presence to pull it off. An encounter with some such guests reminds Lola of her own past love for dancing, and that’s the story.
As with “Change of the Season”, “Lola” is not actually moving toward a climax although it does seem to be at first. Both stories are snapshots in the lives of the lead characters. There isn’t much major change,just exposition of a certain state of mind. Lola’s ennui, like Yeon-joo’s, is circumstantial. It too, will pass. And likewise, even if the ending makes it clear that Lola won’t be going after major life changes, it is quite comforting to see that the small subtle adjustments imminent in her life will take this experience into account.
Lastly we have “Atone”, by director Jeong Ga-young. What exactly any of the characters in this story are atoning for is not clear, although the morose feeling of purgatory certainly implies that they must be atoning for something. Yeon-hee (played by Lee Ji-min-I) cleans up after sloppy customers at the karaoke bar. Then she goes home and cleans up after her sloppy dementia patient mother. And then there’sthe eviction notices. For Yeon-hee,there’s not much to look forward to except for more misery.
Unlike the first two stories in “Some Day”, “Atone” definitely has a climax. And in overall comparison, it’s definitely a case study in the difference between mild problems and rather serious ones. Yeon-hee needs a climax, she needs a resolution, becausethe poor woman needs something, anything. It’s not the answer she was looking for, and really, there probably wasno good answer but…well…that’s life, I guess.
That’s the main unifying prompt between the three short films. That, and how they’re all graduation projects from Cheongju University. While they’re all inherently sad, limited stories, there’s definite craftsmanship in all of them. It wouldn’t surprise meif in the future one or more of thesedirectorsis able to goon to a bigger project with a better chance of international distribution.
Review by William Schwartz
“Some Day” is directed by Choi Jin-hyeok-I, Jeon Seon-ho and Jeong Ga-young and features Choi Soo-in, Kim Young-seo and Lee Ji-min-I.
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