Director: Kim So-yong
Cast: Kim Hee Yeon, Kim Song Hee, Lee Soo Ah
Film genre: Drama
Cert U, 89 mins, 2009
Distributed by Thunderbird
A pair of sisters learn to cope with the sudden absence of their mother when she leaves them in the country with “Big Aunt” while she goes looking for their long absent dad. Following her Canada-set debut In Between Days (2006), Kim So Yong returns to her native Korea for another autobiographically inspired tale - though this time one of childhood’s end. Kim’s film offers a potent, unsentimental examination of impoverished childhood in which the girls wander around in too small shoes with only one outfit and a pair of pyjamas each, eventually resorting to grilling grasshoppers just to survive. Yet for all of its everyday sadness, Treeless Mountain is a sympathetic look at life on the margins of a prosperous society in which a little girl faces adult treachery with a stoic maturity and finally resolves to find her own place independent of a perhaps uncaring world.