Treeless Mountain 2008 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(33) IMDb 7.2/10
Available in HD

When their mother leaves to find their estranged father, six-year-old Jin and her younger sister are left to live with their Big Aunt for the summer. In Korean with English subtitles.

Starring:
Hee-Yeon Kim, Mi-Hyang Kim
Runtime:
1 hour 30 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

Treeless Mountain

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director So Yong Kim
Starring Hee-Yeon Kim, Mi-Hyang Kim
Supporting actors Shin Hyun Je, Kim Mi Jung, Hee-yeon Kim, Mi-hyang Kim, Song-hee Kim, Soo-ah Lee, Sung Sook Lee, Lee Hyun Seo, Park Boon Tak, Lee Kang Won, Ha Min Woo, Kim Il Woo, Lee Byung Yong
Studio Oscilloscope Laboratories
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

What makes this movie different are the brilliant actors and the classy filming and editing.
S. Singer
What is more, the encouragement to believe that innocence still remains crowns the film, endorsing life in all its difficulty, scarcity and hopeful endurance.
Cea T. Hearth
Endearing turns from both of the young girls, the neighbor of the aunt, and the grandmother, but all do a fine job.
Chris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A young girl, barely 7 years old, is left to fend for her little sister when their mother leaves them both in the hands of a distracted and insensitive aunt. Promised by their mother that if they were good their aunt would give them coins and that she would come back when their piggy bank was full, the children improvise ways to earn small change and fill up the bank, hoping to hasten their mother's return.

So Yong Kim's follow up to the wonderful and understated In Between Days is a revelation of a film. Shot in a style that captures simple nuances of childhood without artifice, the film is also a formal masterpiece. Every shot is framed with care and precision, captures subtleties of gesture and emotion that feel utterly authentic, or captures settings and light and other natural elements to give a haiku-like accent to the mood of surrounding scenes. To say that this film is shot documentary-style is technically true, but may give the false impression of a amateur home-movie style video or shaky cameras and this film is nothing like that. In its formal precision that captures the essence of the reality it depicts rather than the raw subject matter the film is closer to work by the Dardenne Brothers or to that of Robert Bresson, than to the more ad hoc and improvised "documentary-style" cinematography of the Office television series or of something like Cloverfield or even District 9.

A delicate and lovely film about the fragility and resilience of childhood. Highly recommended.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By S. Singer on October 3, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm surprised I don't find more discussions about this movie. Why, because it is one of the best family movies I've seen and it portrays one of the saddest issues - that is the effect of adoption, divorce, foster care - all the estrangements that can occur between children and guardians.
What makes this movie different are the brilliant actors and the classy filming and editing. Never mind the sub-titles the movie just visually tells a story, some of the best scenes come from the subtle smiles and natural movements that only a child could render.
Fortunately this DVD comes with extras, whether through deleted scenes or interviews with the two leads that add comedy and poignancy to the film.
Amazingly two actors age five and seven are able to deliver a striking performance.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Glenn E. Stambaugh on September 16, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Treeless Mountain was utterly charming, a far more upbeat take on a situation somewhat similar to Hirokazu Koreeda's tragic "Nobody Knows" ("Dare mo shiranai", 2004). A 30ish big-city single mom in dire financial straits drops off her seven and five-year-old daughters with the 50ish 'Big Aunt', her sister-in-law, a functioning alcoholic in a small town, who a few weeks later in turn dumps them on their 70ish maternal grandparents, who live on a rather primitive farm.

Mom has given the girls a piggy bank, and said she'd return by the time they've filled it, a white lie, of course, but the kids start collecting impaling and charbroiling grasshoppers (yum -- healthful animal protein) to sell to big aunt's neighbors at ten cents a pop. Then they discover that ten pennies take up more bank space than a dime, and engage in some currency conversion. Even though the piggy's now full, mom doesn't show up. Later, at the farm, the girls offer grandma the bank to buy herself new winter shoes.

It's not all sunshine. The girls have their quirks. Jin, the older daughter, has a bed-wetting problem, and frames little sister Bin, who gets revenge later. There are lots of little touches like that in all the characters, but it's all understated, and much is implied without being obvious. The overall impression is of a society that values its kids highly, and the extended family structure makes what might otherwise have been a tragic situation bearable and even light-hearted at times. On the commentary track, the director reveals she's dedicated the film to her own grandmother, the movie having been somewhat autobiographical.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By KE8000 on June 14, 2011
Format: DVD
Although I've often raved to friends about this film, I don't often recommend that they rush out and watch it. It's slow and elegiac and lacks the kind of italics that American audiences are used to. There's no music or sweeping camerawork to suggest how we're supposed to feel about anything. And though its dramatic structure is earnest, it's also nearly invisible.

And yet, still, to me . . . it's an astonishing and beautiful movie, mostly because of the performances of the two little girls, who are captured on camera--not "acting"--but merely behaving.

Maybe, if you understand all that, you'll like this movie too.

I'll also add this: a few weeks after seeing it, I also saw Jim Cameron's AVATAR in a theatre. It was admittedly spectacular. And yet, three days later, I found myself not caring about anything or anyone on the planet Pandora. Instead, I was still worrying about those two little girls in Korea . . . .
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sennie on July 24, 2010
Format: DVD
I saw this movie two days ago and I'm still thinking about it. Amazing performances by two child non-actors. Their mother (single, tired and struggling) leaves them with their neglectful aunt while going in search of their father... or was that just an excuse to abandon the children she is unable to raise on her own?

The mother leaves the girls with a piggy bank, promising to return when the girls have filled it completely. The girls show maturity beyond their years, finding creative ways to fill their piggy bank while also displaying the innocence and hopefulness of a child while waiting for their mother to return. Their faces and expressions are haunting and heart tugging. As hard as it was to watch them struggle with their aunt, it was satisfying to see them receive more attention and love from their elderly grandmother.

I would love a sequel with a happy ending. Wishful thinking?

In response to a reviewer who gave this movie 1 start and called it boring, well, anyone who needs special effects, car chases and other "action" may find this movie "boring". However, I think anyone with a heart, compassion and sensitivity will love this movie.

As a side note: the young girl who played the younger sister in this movie was discovered in a foster home. Knowing this while I was watching this movie really tugged at my heartstrings. I saw a wisdom, playfulness and strength in her that was humbling. Does anyone know what happened to her after this movie was filmed?
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