Come Rain, Come Shine
Directed by Lee Yoon-ki
26 July 2013
This minimalistic film depicts the lives of a young couple, married five years and on the verge of separation. It is a film where gaps exist and increase because true feelings are never dealt with or openly acknowledged.
Jiseok and his wife, Youngshin, have become distant over the five years of their marriage. As Jiseok takes Youngshin to the airport for a short trip she is making to Japan, she reveals that she will be moving out – and that she has another man. A few days later Youngshin returns to pack her things while Jiseok lingers and loiters around the house, helpfully – and meticulously – wrapping dishes for her and brewing coffee. On the day she is to move out, a massive storm strikes stranding her and forcing the couple to spend another day together. A lot can happen in one day, as they soon realise…
With the characters often in different parts of the house, dialogue is generally sparse, as by themselves they only stare, lost in thoughts, into the vacant air. If their paths cross, few words are exchanged, sentences are restrained and hollow. This is both the result of the emotional and the physical estrangement from one another but also the cause of their estrangement: their inability to talk to each other about things that matter, to express, whether in words or through touch, their true thoughts.
If the uncomfortable opening scene in the car establishes the spousal estrangement, the film’s significantly longer second part reinforces it through the characters’ interactions or lack thereof. The director also relies on symbolism to convey distancing, chiefly through the house – where most of the story is set – and its very particular physicality of space and form: there are stark contrasts of black and white, with the visual lines predominantly straight and sharp, like the black staircase railing against the white walls. The building itself feels like a closed-in labyrinth whose full layout is difficult to discern as there are many dark corners and narrow spaces, always leaving one with the feeling that there are some rooms that have been missed. With its layout the house itself seems to imprison and isolate its inhabitants, trapping them in layers of non-communication and hidden feelings.
Come Rain, Come Shine was screened in the main competition section at the 60th Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival).