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What is the nature of childhood resilience? Sisters Jin and Bin, ages 6 and 3, live with their mother. Jin likes school and does well. One day, their mother leaves the girls with their father's sister, a woman they do not know. The mother seeks a reconciliation with their father. She leaves them a plastic piggy bank, promising to return when the bank is full. The girls scrub and clean for their aunt, a tippler who's often cranky and complaining. She gives them a few coins for their work. They earn more money catching, grilling, and selling grasshoppers. They miss their mother. The bank fills. They watch for her from a mound of dirt. Will she return? Will stoic faces give way to a smile? Written by
This is the second film I saw at the New Zealand International Film Festival and they had some projection problems with it, that must've been a sign to leave, but no, I stayed.
This is film an interesting look at Korean life, we are shown some very intimate aspects of the lives of these two young Korean girls, but unfortunately, that's all it is. It is rather personal but my parents grew up in the Chinese countryside and I've been to visit my grandparents farms and there the lives of my second cousins were very similar to those of these girls. This film depicts the ordinary for so many poor people, it wasn't engaging. I was bored half-way through and waiting for it to be over.
The film is very doco-like. There was the annoying shaking hand-held when everything else was still, the straight-forward shots and the complete lack of drama. Perhaps I am too used to Hollywood, but this film was flat all the way through. Without a climax of some sort, without excitement then why would the audience continue watching? I didn't want to. And the ending was very sudden and unexpected and offered no satisfactory conclusion.
I did like the lack of a real male presence. The two men that had even minor roles - the father and grandfather were depicted badly. The feminism and themes were dealt softly and subtly. The film shows the strength women have, the strength we have to have especially when abandoned by men and I really do think this film shows that women don't need men - even in a developing Korea.
I just think this film is too much like life itself. Or have I missed the point?
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