Treeless Mountain View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: So Yong Kim

Produced: 2008

Countries & Regions: United States

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Length: 89 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 4 October 2010

Cat No: SODA091

Extras:
Languages(s): Korean
Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu

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Treeless Mountain

Cast: Hee-yeon Kim , Mi-hyang Kim , Song-hee Kim , Ha Min Woo , Kim Mi Jung , Lee Byung Yong , Soo-ah Lee , Jung Gil Ja , Park Boon Tak , Lee Kang Won , Sung Sook Lee , Shin Hyun Je

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Korean childhood drama. When their mother (Soo Ah Lee) goes off in search of their estranged father, seven-year-old Jin (Hee Yeon Kim)... Read More

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Korean childhood drama. When their mother (Soo Ah Lee) goes off in search of their estranged father, seven-year-old Jin (Hee Yeon Kim) and her younger sister Bin (Song Hee Kim) are left in the care of their emotionally distant alcoholic aunt (Mi Hyang Kim). Their mother leaves the girls a plastic piggy bank, promising that by the time they have filled it she will come back to them - but despite finding various ingenious ways to fill it more quickly, the girls see no sign of her return.

The subjects of Treeless Mountain, a beguiling part-fiction, part-documentary hybrid are two young Korean sisters, the bright-as-a-button Jin and her sleepier little sister Bin. When their mother lands work in another town, the girls find themselves deposited in the care of an aunt in the city. What we watch there is the process of acclimatisation the sisters face, and their sadness at being abandoned: the title refers to the mound of rubble the pair sit on at night, while awaiting mum’s return.

With its emphasis on how these girls learn, the result is something like an Asian equivalent of Samira Makhmalbaf’s The Apple. Writer-director So Yong Kim’s approach is gentler, certainly – observing the sisters’ inventive attempts to fill their own piggybank – but she’s equally alert to the cruelties lurking in this world: money can’t always, it seems, buy you happiness.

These two girls will break your heart: you begin Treeless Mountain wanting to cuddle them, and finish the film scrabbling to adopt them as your own.

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