A film by Jong Ougie Pak
2019, 47 minutes
No. 239


After failing his university entrance exams for the third year in a row, Min Suk, a directionless twenty-something Korean man, travels to New York to visit his long-distance girlfriend Yeon Jae. Over the course of a rollercoaster week, he experiences both the thrill of losing himself in a new city and the bitter realization that his relationship is gradually imploding. After a visit to Columbia University, Min Suk considers applying to schools in America, but when the fantasy of a fresh beginning as a New York college student collides with the grueling reality of the entrance exams, he begins to retreat again into uncertainty. 

Shot in elegiac black and white, director Jong Ougie Park recontextualizes the all-too-familiar landmarks of New York City—Washington Square Park, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge—rendering alluring yet impersonal monuments of a foreign city that Min Suk knows he is only passing through. Caught between South Korea and New York, Sunrise/Sunset subtly explores the liminal space not only between cultures, but between the possibilities of adolescence and the realities of adulthood.

Offical Selection, BAMCinemaFest

“Affecting in its portrayal of the in-limbo phase of a young person’s life [...] The uncertainty of youth, the black-and-white cinematography of the city, and the use of classical music may call to mind Frances Ha (2012), though the cultural concerns are miles apart.” - Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, Artforum

“[Sunrise/Sunset] feels of a piece with the movies that gaze on New York as a foreign metropolis, with an exoticizing remove and a feeling of being lost in translation.” - Mark Asch, The Film Stage

“...captures the  beauty and loneliness of [NYC] in gorgeous black-and-white photography.” - Dan Schoenbrun, Filmmaker Magazine

"Evoking the naivety of Mia Hansen Love’s Goodbye First Love and Eric Rohmer’s freewheeling A Summer’s Tale before that, Sunrise/Sunset is a 47-minute bittersweet romantic escapade worth taking." - Matt Delman, Hammer to Nail