For a change, South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo has not tackled a story about a sham filmmaker, but focused his arrows on literary publisher Bongwan (played by Hong’s favourite, Kwon Haehyo).
As a result of an unfortunate combination of events, Bongwan’s wife finds him in the office with his new female assistant. His wife suspects adultery, but the reality is more complex. Bongwan did have an affair with a previous assistant, who left recently. Even though he spins a web of lies to save his skin, suspicion remains. This man is untrustworthy.
Just as the structure of this film is also fairly untrustworthy. Hong shifts unpredictably through space and time in order to portray Bongwan's melancholy memories of his beloved assistant. Watching The Day After requires the same kind of suspicion as listening to Bongwan's lies: there is an element of truth somewhere, but you need a sharp eye to recognise it.