Daytime Drinking is a gentle comedy which is the perfect antidote the view that Korean cinema has lost its way. And it’s a film which makes you feel connected to Korea much more than many of the horror and action films which come our way.
From the soulless self-catering guesthouse (or “pension”) in the mountains to the lively drinking culture, everything seems eerily familiar. “Wow: you’re a good drinker” says a companion as our hapless hero downs his first soju shot of the day, usually followed by: “you’ve got some catching up to do: we’ve had a head start.” The evil-coloured home-made hooch which is claimed to be good for the stomach or good for the stamina is another familiar aspect of the Korean table, where everything that passes your lips seems to have unbeatable medicinal properties.
There are no big stars, there is no big story, but it’s a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The plot, as far as it goes: a guy is persuaded to go on a trip to Kangwondo to cheer himself up after his girlfriend dumps him. His friends then fail to make the trip and he ends up on his own. In successive incidents he ends up staying at the wrong guest house, getting befriended and then inexplicably insulted, dumped cashless and trouserless on the roadside after a drinking bout, and enjoying the acme of luxury: instant noodles and soju on the beach.
Perfect for watching on the sofa with a strong cup of tea when you have a mild hangover.
Noh Young-seok (노영석): Daytime Drinking (낮술) (2008).