Seoul. Winter. Sunday. One fairly dodgy young man, one pregnant young woman, and a pack of cigarettes.
From this raw material Lee Man-hee, the most imaginative and visually inventive director of Korea’s 1960s and 70s, made a black-and-white masterpiece. In A Day Off he was able to blend lessons learned from Italian neo-realism with his particular tragic vision of melodrama, one displayed eloquently in earlier films such as Full Autumn (1966) and Homebound (1967).