By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
“A story about a young woman Ye-ri (Han Ye-ri) who runs a bar and takes care of her unconscious paralyzed father, and three men (Yang Ik-june, Park Jung-bum, Yoon Jong-bin) who frequent the bar trying without much success to win her heart. One day, Ye-ri asks what they dreamed last night. While each of them tells their nightmares, Ye-ri tells them she had a dirty dream, making love to each of them.”
Yep, that’s the wikipedia plot description, and the sum total of what I knew about this film going into it. And that’s what you’re gonna get.
At my most charitable, this kind of has a Clerks hangout vibe going, as the three characters do have some good back and forths as they chill and converse inanely in competent hand-held black and white compositions. The randomness of the plot can be amusing, and trying to figure out how all this plot ties together is fairly engaging.
There’s also lots of talk of Chinese-Koreans, which the director is, and which have a second-class reputation, and North Korean defectors. There’s probably some interesting societal commentary going on here running below the surface of my understanding, but it does add an element of interest nonetheless.
A Quiet Dream is verrry artsy- you know, the art school kinda artsy, in which random things happen, characters change on the fly, and nothing really adds up to anything plot-wise. The ending in particular is full of significance apropos of nothing. I won’t spoil it, but if you think of the top two most pretentious ways this film could end, then you’ve probably thought of both of the moves A Quiet Dream makes in the end.
Probably the main issue of the film is everyone’s a dick, well all of the male characters anyway. All of them display varying degrees of super antisocial behavior, to the extent that it’s a very good question as to why this girl is still hanging out with these three guys at all. Surely you can find somebody more worthwhile to hang out with, Yeri!
Along with those arthouse pretensions comes near-obligatory languid pacing- no plot to speak of means no forward momentum.
A Quiet Dream is the type of film that always finds a place at your lesser film festivals and the final days of the big ones. If that’s your thing…
A Quiet Dream (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for drinking
Take a Drink: for cats
Take a Drink: whenever Yeri gets hit on
Take a Drink: whenever anyone does anything dickish
Take a Drink: whenever North Korea is mentioned
Take a Drink: for the bathtub
Do a Shot: for each dream, if you can identify any of them