Saturday, November 12, 2011

Treeless Mountain (2008) NR - 3½ Stars

These tiny girls are great little actors! In Korean subtitles, this is the touching story of two little girls, who's mother's financial difficulty and can no longer afford taking care of them. She brings them to their father's sister's urban house and begs her to take the children in until she can get on her feet, reconciling with their father and then can return for them. She gives the children a piggy bank and tells them everyday the aunt will give them a coin to fill the bank. Once the bank is full, she will return. What starts out as an okay living arrangement turns badly when the aunt grows tired of minding the "bratty" children and finds passing out drunk a comfort rather then feeding the girls. The girls feel loss and abandonment and are oblivious to the dangers of the outside world, but quickly become survivors as they discover the trick of BBQing grasshoppers to peddle the streets, making extra coins to fill their bank. They discover that smaller change fills the bank faster so their larger coins are exchanged for 1 cent pieces. This subtle change fills their bank to capacity. But as they wait each day at the bus stop for their mothers return, they sense she is not coming back.

A letter arrives from their mother saying no changes in her life have been made and the girls are forced to be uprooted again to the farmland of her parents. The grandfather denounces their arrival but they make friends with their grandmother who teaches them great lessons of contentment and respect as they await the return of their mother.

Six year old Jin (Hee Yeon Kim) and her three year old younger sister Bin (Song Hee Kim) , live with their mother (Soo-ah Lee), in a tiny one bedroom apartment. Jin loves attending school while her younger sister wait at home for her arrival. One day when Jin arrives home from school, her mother is packing their belongings as they take a long bus ride into the urban ghettos to be dumped off at their Big Aunt's (Mi-Hyang Kim), home to live. The children are left feeling abandoned as they try to make due with the Aunt as they await the return of their mother. But their loss is great and Big Aunt has never had children around and in her drunken stoop, neglects the children to fend for them selves. Jin and Bin must decide what their next move is to hurry up the process of their mother returning. They roam the dangerous streets, peddling grasshoppers they have cooked, in order to gain more coins for their bank. They are certain if they fill their piggy up, mom will come back for them sooner.

The days pass and their mother never shows only sending a letter of their once again movement to their grandparents farm. As the girls feel no one wants them, their kind hearted grandmother (Park Boon Tak), takes a quick liking to them and shows teaches them the virtue of patience.


Oscillscope Laboratories, Parts and Labor, SoandBrad
Director: So Yong Kim
Writer: So Yong Kim
Producers: Bradley Rust Gray, Lars Knudsen, So Yong Kim
I viewed 10/11

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