Treeless Mountain

So Yong Kim’s haunting drama Treeless Mountain, tells the story of two young sisters living with their single mother in South Korea. Six-year-old Jin (Hee Yeon Kim) and her sister four-year-old Bin (Song Hee Kim), are sent to live with their evil aunt who has no maternal instincts before they go to visit their grandmother who lives on a remote farm far from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Life in Korea

Day to day South Korean life is manifested through the eyes of the two young girls. The difficulties of living within a single parent family, in a tiny cramped apartment in the city are invisible to the sisters. When they are sent to live with their alcoholic aunt in Seoul they sweetly refer to her as ‘Big Aunt’ even thought she treats her nieces as slaves. When they go to stay with their grandma, they’re treated slightly better but despite this the outlook remains bleak.

Although it might seem like very little happens, the action of the film is played out in the reactions of the two young protagonists. So Yong Kim uses close up shots, with the camera very tightly fixed to the girls’ faces to achieve this. It is a familiar subject matter which audiences can naturally empathize with. The two girls execute their roles beautifully in their acting debut. With no previous acting experience, they were discovered at school. Despite this, their on-screen presence is truly captivating which is one of the reasons Treeless Mountain is a must-see.

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