Come Rain, Come Shine 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다
2011, colour, 1.85:1, 104 mins
Directed by Lee Yoon-ki (이윤기 | 李胤基)
By Derek Elley
Fri, 18 February 2011, 03:57 AM (HKT)
Study of a failed marriage doesn't engage on any level. Festivals at best.
Seoul, the present day. Yeong-shin (Im Su-jeong), who works for a publishing company, has been married to architect Hwang Ji-seok (Hyeon Bin) for five years. One Thursday, while he is driving her to the airport for a two-day business trip to Japan, she tells she him she is leaving him for another man. Ji-seok reacts in a muted way, not even asking her who the other man is. Some time later, on the day the other man — photographer Kim Seong-hun (Ha Jung-woo) — is due to pick her up with her things, Yeong-shin and Ji-seok find themselves closeted together in the house as the rain pours down outside from a hurricane that has been causing havoc in the region. And then Ji-seok finds a stray kitten crying on the patio outside.
Starting with a fixed, 10-minute single take of a married couple talking in a car, Come Rain, Come Shine 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 (2011) looks for all the world like a continuation of writer-director LEE Yoon-ki 이윤기 | 李胤基's previous movie, My Dear Enemy 멋진 하루 (2008), in which two ex-partners got to know each other again while driving round Seoul to raise some money. The dialogue is intriguing, small details and tensions are revealed in passing, and then the woman calmly announces she's leaving the man — to almost no reaction from the latter. The film then cuts to the day of her moving out from their house and, in what seems like 90 minutes of real time, the gap between the two movies starts widening like a chasm.
After a striking start to his career with the highly stylised This Charming Girl 여자, 정혜 (2004), Lee went seriously wobbly with his next two features (Love Talk 러브토크 (2005), Ad Lib Night 아주 특별한 손님 (2006)) before powering back with My Dear Enemy, undoubtedly his career highlight, with terrific leads (JEON Do-yeon 전도연 | 全度妍, HA Jeong-u 하정우 | 河正佑) and a tight, elliptical script. Come Rain is practically the flipside: clumps of pedestrian dialogue as the couple moon and wander around their underlit house, weak lead actors whose combined wattage wouldn't light a torch bulb, and zero dramatic tension or psychological insight.
Lee's third film to be based on a Japanese short story (following Ad Lib and Enemy), Come Rain shows his limitations as a solo writer, especially when divorced from much plot or action. It seems to be no coincidence that his best film was not only co-written (with PARK Eun-yeong 박은영, Maundy Thursday 우리들의 행복한 시간 (2006)) but also featured strong actors who could invest the dialogue with extra resonance. In Come Rain, actress IM Su-jeong 임수정 | 林秀晶 (A Tale of Two Sisters 장화홍련 (2003), Happiness 행복 (2007)) looks like she is simply following the director's orders through an earpiece, while HYEON Bin 현빈, in a non-responsive, emotionally subdued role as the husband, lacks the charisma he displayed in the otherwise shaky Late Autumn 만추 (2010). Elucidation of both characters' personalities or feelings is as foggy as the underlit interiors of their shared home — to a point that the viewer almost longs for some of the emotional excesses that power most South Korean movies. But apart from the appearance of a stray kitten and its owners at the hour mark, there's not much going on here at all.
The Korean title literally means Love You, Love You Not.
ContactSales: Fortissimo Films, Amsterdam/Hong Kong (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Premiere: Berlin Film Festival (competition), 17 Feb 2011. Theatrical release: South Korea, 3 Mar 2011.
Presented by Next Entertainment World (SK), East Gate Partners (SK), in association with October Pictures. Produced by b.o.m. Film Productions (SK). Executive producers: Kim Woo-taek, Romeo Noh, Jo Jae-hyeon, Choi Gyu-nam. Producer: Oh Jeong-wan.
Script: Lee Yoon-ki. Short Story: Inoue Areno (The Cat That Can Never Come Back 帰れない猫, 2003). Photography: Jang Hyeong-uk. Editing: Kim Hyeong-ju. Music: none. Art direction: Seo Myeong-hye. Costumes: Lee Jin-suk. Sound: Jeon Sang-jun, Lee Seung-cheol.
Cast: Im Su-jeong (Yeong-shin, the wife), Hyeon Bin (Hwang Ji-seok, the husband), Kim Ji-su (woman next door), Kim Jung-gi (man next door), Kim Hye-ok (voice of Yeong-shin's mother), Ha Jeong-u (voice of Kim Seong-hun, the photographer), Yu Jin-yeong (newscaster).