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A Day for an Affair
  |     review    |     notes     |     availability     |    

Yoon Jin-Suh (left) and Kim Hye-Soo (right) as the cheating women in A Day For an Affair.
AKA: A Fine Day for an Affair  
Year: 2007  
Director: Jang Moon-Il  
Writer: Jang Moon-Il, Joo Chan-Ok  
  Cast: Kim Hye-Soo, Yoon Jin-Suh, Lee Jon-Hyuk, Lee Min-Ki, Park Sang-Myeon, Jeong Eun-Pyo, Oh Yoon-Hong
  The Skinny: An amusing comedic romp about adultery that refreshingly lacks a moral compass for the majority of its running time. But in trying to be something it doesn't have to be, the film ultimately overstays its welcome.
Kevin Ma:
     Leave it to a country that outlawed adultery to make a comedy out of it. That's right, adultery is actually against the law in South Korea, but you wouldn't be able to tell from A Day for an Affair. A polished, breezy comedy, A Day for an Affair stars Kim Hye-Soo and Yoon Jin-Suh as two women with anonymous identities who find extramarital affairs through online chats. The first woman, the playful Ms. Dew (Kim), seduces a young inexperienced college student (Lee Min-Ki) through a series of teases that eventually lead them to a countryside love hotel. The other woman, Little Bird (Yoon), meets up with a handsome Romeo-type (Lee Jong-Hyuk) who plays nice online, but ends up expecting much more in person. Despite her initial shyness, they end up at the same love hotel as Dew, only for Little Bird to back off and insist on simply talking.
     Director Jang Moon-Il handles the two different affairs as mostly separate plotlines, with one about what happens after sex, and the other about inching slowly towards that consummation. However, A Day for an Affair doesn't move anywhere for a while, as the first act is concerned less with plot exposition than with setting up the affairs and laying the foundation for the two women's eventual encounter. Rather than asking the tough question about the morality (or lack therof) behind adultery, Jang depicts extramarital relationships as a type of escapism and a bit of adventurous fun. Dew and Little Bird don't have the best of marriages - we see scenes of Little Bird's silent marriage to explain her desire for conversation, and Dew's marriage only seems slightly better on the outside, with a third act reveal explaining her true immature reasoning for an affair - but Jang doesn't feel the need to present the women's husbands as broad stereotypical creeps to validate their wives' affairs. Jang seems to be intentionally avoiding the issue of morality by presenting Little Bird and Dew as two lonely people who just want to connect with others in their own ways - a rather straightforward, albeit simple explanation that's satisfying enough in the context of the film.
     Because of Jang's way of presenting extramarital affairs as escapism, much of A Day for an Affair plays like a lightweight comic romp, showing Dew and Little Bird's affairs running into amusing obstacles. However, Jang also plays the physical comedy too broadly at times, particularly during the playful interactions between Dew and the college student (Trust me, that's how they're named). Jang tries to show Dew's immaturity in their actions, but it grows a bit grating after a while. On the other hand, Kim Hye-Soo does project an effective air of immaturity that seems to lie beneath her sex appeal, adding significant context to her character. Her role is the more challenging of the two, but Kim plays her seductress role with a lot of fun that shows onscreen. Fortunately, Jang does find the right balance eventually, bringing a bit of visual pizzazz to the broad comedy pieces, showing Jang's talent as a director. That's also the point when the film finally gets moving, as one affair begins to reach its climax (no pun intended) and the other finally starts to come to fruition.
     However, A Day for an Affair also stays past its welcome, going on well past its climax to try and form some kind of meaning in one of the affairs. Just when one thinks that said affair has long reached a somewhat pessimistic yet logical conclusion, A Day for an Affair drags on by attempting to bring the ending back to where it started without resolving all the issues it has brought up. Indeed, Jang can argue that unresolved issues are a natural part of life, but it can also be interpreted as his inability to find a balance between commercial and arthouse comedy. The writer-director's attempt to place additional meaning into the film is particularly jarring because he ignored genre conventions so blatantly in the first two-thirds of the film that he didn't need to revert to serious storytelling in the last ten minutes. It's meaningful and emotional, sure, but it's also unnecessary.
     Then again, we should probably just be appreciative of what we see onscreen already: two sexy lead performances, an amusing adult comedy that doesn't resort to explicit sex, and considerable directorial talent, to boot. Those who don't mind dubious morals will like the fact that Jang doesn't judge his protagonists as anything more than just two lonely women, and the moral police will like that the film does end up taking some kind of anti-affair stance in its conclusion. That just goes to show that even in a film about adultery, you can still have it both ways. (Kevin Ma 2007)
Notes: • The Internet chats that set up the two affairs in the film are mostly non-English-subtitled on the DVD. It doesn't have a huge overall effect, but it does make the film harder to get into at the beginning.
Availability: DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
2-disc Limited Edition
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable Korean and English subtitles
Making-of, trailers, and various extras
  Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen