If you’re looking for some light entertainment to take your mind off things after a hard day at the office, So Yong Kim’s In Between Days is probably not for you. Like much non mainstream cinema, it demands effort from you.
Plot-wise, there’s not much to report. It’s a teenage Korean girl growing up in a cold foreign city. It could be anywhere: there are few visual clues to tie it to any specific location, and it doesn’t really matter where it is. The girl lives with her mother, her father having abandoned them some time ago. It’s clear she took the abandonment hard, blaming it on her mother. There are almost daily scenes when she speaks her thoughts aloud, making an imaginary phone call or reading an imaginary letter to her father, telling her news and expressing a wish to see him again soon. These scenes are always still shots of a bleak sky, with electricity pylons, accompanied by a voiceover from Aimie, stressing her sense of loneliness.
Aimie falls in with a Korea guy who has a tea cosy permanently glued to his head, and most of the film charts their tentative relationship. There’s a bit of humour — early on in their relationship he asks her: will you do it for me? They talk for a while as to whether she will, or whether he really wants it. It turns out he wants her to give him a tattoo.
Most of the time though it’s a series of small incidents, minor jealousies, broken and inconsequential conversations, petty things. What stands out is the naturalness of Kim Jiseon as Aimie, and it’s refreshing to see things from the girl’s viewpoint. But, early on in the relationship Aimie asks her new boyfriend why he split with his previous girl. “Because she was boring”. At that point I knew Aimie was never going to last.