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A quiet, poignant drama of abandonment and resilience...an uncanny ability to enlarge your perception of the world. --A.O. Scott, New York Times
Treeless Mountain takes a radically different approach to the deprivations of childhood than Slumdog Millionaire, yet these films from the other side of the world will connect with audiences wherever they are shown. --Tom Charity, CNN
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Looks like a movie picture of Keene's big eyes. Big beautiful sad eyes. Nothing elsePublished 5 months ago by Dr. Marilyn Rosenthal
Loved this movie!!! The kids were so talented! I read that one kid was found in an orphanage and given the acting job. WowPublished 5 months ago by Sarri P.
Beautifully filmed and acted; understated, with children's viewpoints foregrounded. Take a look!Published 11 months ago by Film Fan
Very bittersweet and endearing story...I watched it with my mother, who was from Korea. Adorable little girls, well made film.Published on October 9, 2013 by R. MALLON
I sent this video straightaway to my oldest daughter, as I knew she would like it as well as I did. I must ask for it back, as I want to watch it again , asn send it to another... Read morePublished on August 29, 2013 by paul ashbrook
I'm not usually a crier, but this one really got to me. I loved the little girls, especially the older one. I watched it on cable several times and loved it more every time. Read morePublished on August 22, 2013 by Dolores
The movie was alright. I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did. It's also always difficult to see children getting treated badly. Read morePublished on January 27, 2013 by Chelsea
<strong>Treeless Mountain</strong> (So-yong Kim, 2008)
Not long ago I reviewed a failed-potential coming-of-age film called <em>Trees Grow Tall and Then They... Read more
the directing is exceptional - at no point do the girls look like they are acting...sensitive rendering I was completely engrossed in this unforgettable filmPublished on May 26, 2012 by kneidles
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|How do they do it?||
Quite a bit of dialogue in films is done in voice-over later and synchronized to match the video (both Robert Rodriguez and Joe Queenan talk about this process in their respective books about making movies, and in the documentary 'American Movie' there's a hilarious scene with an old man where... Read More
Oct 29, 2009 by el dangeroso | See all 3 posts