Spa Night

The beautiful, mysterious first trailer has arrived for Spa Night, the directorial debut of Andrew Ahn. Comprising almost entirely of static frames, the objective imagery creates a serious atmosphere and tension even when nothing seems afoot. A particularly memorable shot of a towel of a lamp creates meaning and provokes thought, despite the full context lacking. Premiering at Sundance earlier this year, Spa Night tells the story of a closeted boy who begins work at spa to help his family, and soon discovers an underground world within its confines that both excites and scares him.

We said in our review, “I firmly believe that we’ll know the representation gap in American entertainment will have been closed not when the prestige dramas featuring minorities are getting their fair Oscar shake, but when people don’t bat an eye at the most banal films of every possible category just happening to be about people of color and/or LGBT individuals and/or whatever else. In that respect, Spa Night is ahead of its time. Instead of being an indie film about a disaffected young white man adrift in the world, it’s an indie film about a disaffected young closeted Korean man adrift in the world. As such, it’s mostly content to adhere to all the expected conventions of the genre, but its choice of main character and setting does indeed set it apart from the rest of its ilk, if only marginally so.”

See the trailer below.

The atmospheric SPA NIGHT is a portrait of forbidden sexual awakening set in the nocturnal world of spas and karaoke bars in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. David Cho (Joe Seo in a breakthrough performance), a timid 18-year-old living with his financially-struggling immigrant parents, chances upon a secret cruising spot when he takes a job at an all-male spa. There he begins to realize hidden desires that threaten his life as a dutiful son and student.

Spa Night opens in limited release  August 19th at Metrograph, and will expand from there.

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