A Quiet Dream
Three odd friends each – unsuccessfully – vie for the attentions of bar owner Yeri, who also cares for her paralysed father. This charming, melancholy tragicomedy that features leading roles for two former Tiger Award winners was the surprise opening film at the prestigious Busan festival.
They are losers, but nice ones. Every day they hang out at Yeri’s bar. All three are smitten by the young Chinese-Korean woman. In turn, Yeri doesn’t really seem to have a preference. To her, they are all equally sweet: Jongbin, a milk-drinking epileptic, Ikjune, a nonchalant former petty criminal and the introverted Jungbum, who fled from North Korea.
Zhang Lu (Grain in Ear, 2005), born in China, shot this tragicomedy in Susaek, a deprived, messy neighbourhood of Seoul. Fellow filmmakers convincingly play the leads. A Quiet Dream is a charming portrait of a trio of hustlers shot in soothing black-and-white. It slowly becomes apparent that dreams play an important role as things become increasingly surreal. Yet the melancholy, dryly humorous tale remains realistic, with a keen eye for the day-to-day problems and desires of Yeri and her three hopeful suitors.