This sensitive, painterly evocation of two children’s life experiences will introduce new viewers to an iconic Korean short story by Hwang Sun-won. Originally published in the 1950s, Hwang’s story depicts a country boy’s curiosity about a girl from Seoul, who plays alone by a stream. The animated version, directed by Ahn Jae-hoon and Han Hye-jin, fondly shows the endless moments of childhood. The youngsters’ emotions run far deeper than the inarticulate words they have to express them.
The children are often framed as small figures embedded in shining country backdrops, part of the cycle of nature. There’s a recurring visual motif of a line of stepping stones across a wide stream, representing a life challenge for the boy who’s so fascinated by the new girl. Fans of Japanese animation may see parallels with some of anime’s most delicate works.