Ad-Lib Night

For those who were fans of this director’s first film, “This Charming Girl”, they will likely find this one to their liking as well as it shares much of the same characteristics and style of that film. And for those who found “This Charming Girl” rather slow and pointless, their reaction to Ad-Lib Night may be the similar. Director Lee Yoon-ki provides us with small subtle enigmatic slices of life, that are neither particularly dramatic nor comic – they are just there and that is perhaps their beauty. It seems almost courageous to make films like this these days – especially in a film culture as rabidly commercial as the one in present day Korea. There is nothing here that can possibly attract a mass audience and probably not even a marginal one. The movies feel negligible, nearly without a plot and with hard to decipher characters – and yet they have a fascination of their own and have gathered a small but ardent group of admirers.

In an outdoor park, two young men approach a girl (Han Hyo-ju) and ask her if she is Myeong-eun, a girl that they knew from years ago and who they have been looking for. She convinces the boys that she is not, but because of her resemblance to Myeong-eun they ask a favor of her. Myeong-eun’s father is on his death bed and they would like her to pretend to be the man’s long vanished daughter so that he can die in peace. For unknown reasons she agrees and travels with them back to their small rural town. And very little happens. Friends and family of the dying man have gathered in his house waiting through his final hours and they drink, fight, talk and eat – the girl hovers about but she remains a very enigmatic person – you wonder if she could in fact really be the daughter. It is hard to say exactly why you stay with this film, but somehow you have to.

My rating for this film: 7.5

Reviewed: 02/07