The Day After ★★★★

Discussed with Mr. Aret Frost on the latest podcast. Having just caught up with On The Beach, this is the first Hong I've genuinely loved since Hill of Freedom. The aesthetic choices are more dynamic while the simplicity of the situation drawn out with psychological complexity with each incident within the script. Kim's role as side character slipping into protagonist provides the most interesting narrative shift, and I found the final scene devastating while darkly humorous. It's sometimes difficult to parse out what Hong does differently to spark certain emotional chords with me (I have a brewing idea about looking at his zooms the same way as Wiseman moves his camera in his 70s films), but this one really hits some beautifully melancholic notes.