In Between Days is the kind of distinctive filmmaking that leaves you enriched but also melancholy. It is at once a love story and a neorealist depiction of assimilation, as well as an exploration of intimacy, communication, and human need. Director So Yong Kim has fashioned an affecting, multifaceted story that resounds with quiet humanity and truth.
Aimie, a recently arrived Korean immigrant teenager, has fallen in love with her best and only friend, Tran. She tries to express her feelings for him but is scared of losing their friendship. Their misunderstood affection for each other creates a delicate relationship that is challenged by the demands of living in a new country. Aimie begins to lose Tran to an Americanized Korean girl, and her world becomes more isolated until she is forced to look inside herself for answers.
In Between Days reveals a visual director at work. With precise cinematography, Kim makes every moment count, using each shot to relate a piece of the story. The film also boasts an absorbing performance by Jiseon Kim as Aimie; her natural physicality relays inner emotions that say so much more than dialogue ever could. Together, director and actor create a reality that is so simple and pure it works perfectly to capture the honesty of this moving story.
Over the past 13 years, So Yong Kim has written and directed a collection of quiet, personal films about an intimacy that arises within confined circumstances. Her subjects range from young Korean sisters to teenage immigrants to adult friends on the cusp of more, but no matter the central characters, Kim crafts and unfolds each relationship with surgeon-like precision. Her carefully controlled naturalism artfully explores our desires for tenderness and connection. Since her Sundance premiere of In Between Days, Kim has debuted three more acclaimed features (Treeless Mountain, For Ellen, and Lovesong), and directed episodes of Transparent, Vida, Room 104, and more.
“By evoking a simmering specificity and a beautiful on-screen relationship between the camera and actors, director So Yong Kim (Treeless Mountain, In Between Days) shows us that the spirit of the quiet drama is alive and well.”
—Micah Van Hove, No Film School, 2017
“No director working today captures girlhood better than So Yong Kim.”
—Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice, 2009