Sunday, July 07, 2013

NYAFFF ’13: One Perfect Day (short)

Let’s review.  If the characters are on a blind date, it’s a rom-com, but if they are internet dating, it’s a horror movie.  Yes, Korean horror master Kim Jee-woon indeed crosses over to the sunnier side of the street (let’s hope temporarily) with his pleasant short film One Perfect Day (trailer here), which screens today as part of the mighty 2013 New York Asian Film Festival.

Woon-chul badly wants to meet Ms. Right, so he gamely accepts a series of blind dates.  Unfortunately, that is really not a good forum for him.  Nonetheless, he makes a spectacularly counterproductive effort with Yoo-jin.  She is clearly not a good fit for him, but he drags her into a large municipal park (in heels), hoping to win her over through a game of rock-paper-scissors.  It might seem like a dubious choice, but he has his reasons.  However, she still is not the one.  That might be Eun-hee, who appears when and where Woon-chul least expects to find her.

Commissioned by a Korean sporting goods firm to celebrate their fortieth anniversary, OPD is light years removed from Kim’s brilliantly disturbing I Saw the Devil and his underperforming Hollywood debut, The Last Stand (here’s a marketing tip: putting Johnny Knoxville in a hat with ear flaps on your one-sheet will not necessarily guarantee box office gold).  OPD has its charms though, especially when Korean superstar Park Shin-hye lights up the third act.  Still, Yoon Kye-sang’s Woon-chul is so manically keen, it is hard to blame Yoo-jin for wanting the heck out of there.  In fact, viewers might find themselves rooting for Park Soo-jin and her perfect WTF expressions.  Nonetheless, Kim brings it all together with a payoff that implies much, but is quite satisfying.

To serve its promotional function, OPD is findable on the internet, but cinematographer Kim Woo-hyung’s rich use of light and color should look fantastic on a big screen and Kim Jee-woon is definitely a big picture director.  In any event, it is an entertaining short film, making it a nice bonus for Korean rom-com fans when it screens with the feature How to Use Guys with Secret Tips tonight (7/7) and Thursday (7/11) at the Walter Reade Theater, as part of this year’s NYAFF.