Treeless Mountain Review

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Two young sisters, 6 and 3 are left with their alcoholic and unpredictable aunt, by their mother, who goes off in search of their father but promises to return. They wait and wait.


A pair of Seoul moppets are foisted upon an alcoholic aunt as their mother goes searching for their absentee father in this slow-burning charmer, rooted in director So Yong Kim’s childhood. The youngsters’ dismay at being shipped to the country turns to unexpected contentment when they’re finally shown some affection by peasant grandma Park Boon Tak.

With Anne Misawa’s camera fixing upon the children’s bemused expressions as they try to fathom the adults’ behaviour, So coaxes superlative performances from her adorable leads, creating an enchanting, challenging film without ever sliding into sentiment.

Wonderful performances from the two young leads and a gently heart-breaking narrative arc make this a slow winner.