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Film review: 'In Between Days' is honest, direct

Published: Friday, Aug. 3 2007 12:00 a.m. MDT

IN BETWEEN DAYS — *** — Jiseon Kim, Taegu Andy Kang; in Korean, with English subtitles; not rated, probable PG-13 (vulgarity, brief drugs, profanity, nude photos, brief sex, brief gore)

"In Between Days" is told simply, which means there are no cinematic bells and whistles whatsoever. But that doesn't make it a simple movie.

In fact, this low-budget, digitally shot drama is fairly complex in terms of its characterizations and in the way it explores sex roles, racial identity and family dynamics. It also feels honest and direct, which is more than you can say about a lot of movies these days.

Named for a hit song by post-punk act the Cure, the film examines the friendship between Aimee (Jiseon Kim) and Tran (Taegu Andy Kang). Both teens are Korean immigrants, though Tran is making the better transition to American culture — well, North American, as in Canadian.

Still, the two hang out, go to parties and do pretty much everything together. It's clear, however, that there are stronger feelings than just friendship on Aimee's part — feelings she is reluctant to express.

Co-screenwriter/director So Yong Kim really immerses us in Aimee's world, and really explores the girl's sense of isolation — as well as her feelings of resentment toward her mother (Bokja Kim), and toward her father, who abandoned them.

But in doing so, the first-time filmmaker also demands a lot of the newcomer in the lead role. Fortunately, Kim is up to the task. She's a natural and seems very relaxed in front of the camera.

So does her fellow newcomer Kang. Their on-screen relationship is believable, and both characters are appealing and relatable.

"In Between Days" is not rated but would probably receive a PG-13 for some suggestive talk and language, brief marijuana references, scattered profanity, glimpses of nude photos, brief sexual contact and brief gore (home tattooing). Running time: 82 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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