Film Archive: South Korean drama Treeless Mountain deserves a larger audience

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Yong Kim delivers an affecting and memorable follow-up directorial effort to her 2006 feature In Between Days with this simple but interesting picture. It’s a sad tale of two young children whose mother leaves them to find their missing father. Their drunken aunt has to look after them – although “look after” is probably too strong a phrase, as she lets them run about and cook grasshoppers and sell them for cash. The two girls are, after some time, sent to stay with their kind peasant-like grandmother, who is also less than capable of looking after a seven-year-old and a toddler.

The performances of the two children are sublime, seemingly put together in the editing room from some natural conversations that occur between them. Either that or they’re advanced beyond their years in memorising a touching and very human script that deals with the innocence of childhood without going all slushy or Disney-esque.

It didn’t find a large audience at the cinema, but hopefully it will do better through word-of-mouth on DVD.

Treeless Mountain (2008), directed by So Yong Kim, is available on DVD from Soda Pictures, certificate PG. The film contains scenes of animal death in a cultural context.

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Second year BA Film & English Student. Watches too many films and enjoys good novels.

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