Na-moo-eobs-neun san (2008)
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I was blown away with the slight facial and voice changes that these two little girls put into this movie. The innocence was so beautiful to watch and it is hard to believe that they are not sisters in real life
A movie that you will not forget and if it doesn't touch you then check your pulse as I doubt that your still breathing.
It was neat seeing the emotions and perspective from Jin and Bin's eyes. The determination to succeed at their quest of getting their mother back to them was touching. I found myself rooting for the girls and hoping that their mother would actually come back for them once they filled the piggy bank. I really enjoyed watching the progress of the piggy bank, and the creative ideas that Jin would come up with to fill it up as fast as they could.
The young actress that plays Jin (Hee Yeon-Kim) did a really good job expressing all the emotions and portraying her character very well. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film, and I would definitely recommend it.
The film was, obviously, on a shoe string budget and it shows throughout the film. The editing was quite choppy at times. Other than that I have no complaints.
This is my first Korean film and I'm hoping to see more.
Kim's camera is always close to the girls' faces, allowing us to see the world through their eyes. It is still an innocent world but one that is becoming more knowing and, unfortunately, more acclimatized to the lies of adults. When seven-year-old Jin (Hee Yeon Kim) and her younger sister Bin (Song Hee Kim) are left by their mother (Soo Ah Lee) in the care of an alcoholic aunt (Mi Hyang Kim), she gives them a piggy bank and tells them that each time they listen to "Big Aunt", a coin will be deposited in their bank. When it is filled, she will return. Big Aunt is cold and cranky and clearly cannot handle the responsibility of caring for the young girls but is more annoying than abusive, calling them a "pain" to be around and berating young Bin for bed wetting.
In one scene, she gives the girls a bowl and tells them to beg the neighbors for sugar. In another, she demands money from a neighbor for a minor scratch Bin suffers when playing with her son. Bin and Jin manage to find friendship, however, with a little handicapped boy and pass the time by capturing and roasting grasshoppers to sell on the streets to help fill their piggy bank. When they discover that they can exchange one large coin for many small ones, they are one step closer to what they believe will be their mother's return. When the bank is filled, the girls wait for their mother at the bus stop, losing faith with each bus that comes and goes without their mother. It is a heartbreaking scene that brings back memories of classic neorealist films of the past.
Optimism and inner strength surface again, however, when, after receiving a letter from the girls' mother, Big Aunt delivers them to their grandparents farm in the countryside. In their return to nature, they can at last breathe free and open themselves to the caring they so desperately need. Recruited through the director's observations of children at local Korean schools rather than through talent agencies, the performances of Hee Yeon Kim and Song Hee Kim are models of authenticity.
There is never any sense that they are simply acting or going through the motions. In the tradition of Koreeda's Nobody Knows, and Ozu's I Was Born But.., Treeless Mountain avoids histrionics or crowd pleasing sentimentality. It is a film about particular children but one that has universal appeal, touching everyone who has experienced the fear of abandonment at one time or another. That means all of us.
The story in "Treeless Mountain" is about a mom who have to leave her two young girls with their aunt as she sets out to find their estranged father. She leaves her daughters with a piggy bank and promises to return when it is full. The aunt gives the girls coins as they do hard chores but are otherwise mostly left to their own devices. Upon proving too difficult to take care of the girls, the aunt takes them to stay with the grandparents at their farm, where they girls come to know the true meaning of family value.
"Treeless Mountain" is not a fast-paced movie, it actually doesn't really take you long or far, but in the course of its length, you will be taken on a very life-affirming and inspiration journey with the two children as they take care of each other. The story told in "Treeless Mountain" is the type that will sink into your mind and stay with you for a long time, because it is really beautifully told and it is a very heart-warming story.
The movie wouldn't have been anything without the cast. And the performance by the two young girls, Hee-yeon Kim (playing Jin) and Song-hee Kim (playing Bin) were nothing short of spectacular. Their performances were so amazing, and they really carried the movie with grace. Of course, the director has a lot of credit here, but still, I was in awe at the talent of these two young girls.
If you enjoy Korean cinema, then you definitely should get acquainted with "Treeless Mountain", especially if you like dramas that will stick with you for a long, long time.
This is a wonderful film, a film about human emotion through the eyes of children barely old enough to know what emotion is let alone act it.
I commend it to anyone who wants to sit down and spend an evening learning about a different culture writ large for those of us too dumb to know any better.
This movie is, for the most part, a lovely sentimental offering that keeps you interested from the git-go. The children are charming, the story is warm and touching.
I do agree that it has no 'ending' but the time spent watching it is well worthwhile. The photography is beautiful.
It will warm the cockles of your heart. I'm not sure what a cockle is, but if you have a good, beating heart, you will enjoy this quiet gem.
I don't think "Treeless Mountain" is as good, but I certainly was glad I saw it. But it is very, very sad, and the two little girls, especially the older one, did a fantastic job. The film certainly depicts their resiliency, but it is so sad that they essentially got screwed over in their life only because of who their Mom was, not for something they specifically did. Maybe they'll have a happy life, but only because they'll make the best out of a very unfortunate situation.
A little bit better than 7, but not quite an 8, in my opinion. If I could have put 7.5 as my rating, that's what I would have done.
They don't get fed regularly, so they catch grasshoppers to fry. They figure they can get change and fill the bank faster, but mom doesn't show as they expect.
Soon, Auntie ships them off to their grandparent's farm. At least now they will have plenty to eat.
It's tough to be separated from your parent. I could tell numerous stories of children that will put up with abuse to not be separated. This was a nice view of Korean life through the eyes of two little girls with angelic faces.
It was a very close theme to 'Children of Invention' and 'Mommo'. Our heart really suffers to see the kids struggle to survive the world. In one minute they had everything in life like all the normal kids then in the next minute they unwanted to their dear ones. To see from the kids' perspective it was truly hurtful but the girls respond very well to the situations and for each others stays strong together.
There was a scene where kids involve in some cruel incident. Due to cultural difference (especially foods) it might make a bit uncomfortable with the sensitive audience. I mean I was saying about grasshoppers in the movie.
The direction was exceptional, the movie looked original and realistic. Both the kids were cute and did an awesome job. This is easily one of a best children's movie as well Korean.
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?
The film's focus is almost exclusively on the two children (marvelously played by two wonderful child actors, Hee-yeon Kim as Jin and Song-hee Kim as Bin). We follow Jin and Bin trying to fill their piggy bank with coins after their mother promises them she will return as soon as they've collected enough coins to fill the bank. With great self-sufficiency, they end up selling cooked grasshoppers to local kids for coins which they can place in the piggy bank. They even realize they can fill up the piggy bank much faster by exchanging larger coins for smaller one's. Often the girls find themselves hungry as their aunt doesn't want to lose extra money buying them food. Jin has been charged by her mother to look after her younger sister and she's the one who informs Bin that their mother is probably not coming back.
Finally, the girl's aunt no longer feels she can take care of the children, so she brings them to live with her elderly parents in the country. At the film's climax, the girls seem to be doing better since their grandmother appears to be a loving person who is truly interested in their welfare.
The film's strength lies in ably presenting an indelible portrait of childhood. There is, of course, a great touch of sadness, as we watch the children trying to cope after losing their mother. By the same token, the audience feels dissatisfied since we never learn why the mother abandoned the children (if she was destitute, how did that come about? Further, what were the problems she was having with her husband that led her to abandon the children?).
In addition to the failure to answer the mystery concerning the mother, there aren't enough dramatic moments in the plot to keep the story moving forward in a satisfactory manner. At some point, the children need to face a tangible, external crisis which must be resolved. The abandonment by the mother is merely the inciting incident--a series of deepening crises needed to happen but never were proffered.
Despite the touching performances of the two principals, Treeless Mountain is a bit too mundane to deserve accolades as true art house fare.