REEL ASIAN 2011: BLEAK NIGHT Review

A father tracks down former classmates of his son, specifically looking for his two best friends Dong-yoon and Hee-june. What he wants is to better understand his son, Ki-tae, and why he would take his own life. Perhaps these two have the answers? 

Dong-yoon dropped out of school and has not been seen since. Hee-june transferred to another school before Ki-tae's suicide but went to the funeral. What unravels in a series of flashbacks is the shattering of friendships set on by misunderstanding only to expose how fragile these binds were to begin with. 

As we put together the pieces of this puzzle our perception of who is the victim and who is the antagonist switches between the three. Lines are crossed, things are said and 'sorry' is an empty word in the end. 

Bleak Night marks an impressive and uncompromising debut from writer and director Yoon Sung hyun. His characters feel very real. His film, though quiet and underlined with tremendous force, requires a great deal of attention as the story reveals itself through a multitude of flashbacks. You will have to be on your toes as it is sometimes never quite clear what is real time and what is a memory that either of the two friends have or share with the father.

Bleak Night paints a bleak portrait of Korean youth and in light of reports this year that suicides are on the rise amongst them this intimate portrayal of broken friendships doesn't sugarcoat the issue at hand. Actions have consequences and if not dealt with those consequences can be dire.

Saturday November 12th @ 2:45 PM @ THE ROYAL
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