by Justin Stewart Film

A Quiet Dream | Zhang Lu

July 12, 2017

Zhang Lu’s chatty, relatively plotless A Quiet Dream, for the most part, non-judgmentally observes the interactions between bar-owner Han Ye-ri and her three regulars, film directors Yang Ik-june, Park Jung-bum, and Yoon Jong-bin—all of whom are infatuated with her. As in the films of Hong Sang-soo, character “development” is minimal, and most of the action is centered around seemingly pointless conversations. Each scene is its own closely observed vignette, which results in pleasurable moment-to-moment viewing, even if it makes for a shapeless whole. There’s a sense that this film was made mostly to amuse Zhang’s friends, but there are great moments here and there, like the quartet’s visit to the Korean Film Archive, where they stone-facedly watch a cliche “arty” film of a guy glumly eating ramen and painstakingly peeling hard-boiled eggs. To their credit, the three actor-directors fully commit to their roles of played-upon cucks, with Yoon convincing as an epileptic and Yang an asshole. A Quiet Dream is a small marvel of episodic, humanistic filmmaking.

Published as part of New York Asian Film Festival | Dispatch 2.