Treeless Mountain

Published September 28, 2009 by Graham

Treeless Mountain

The tumultuous uncertainty of childhood has rarely been depicted so beautifully as in Treeless Mountain. Abandoned by their mother at the apartment of an almost cruelly indifferent aunt, a six year-old girl and her younger sister are forced to come of age prematurely through a series of silent betrayals and callously shattered perceptions.

Director So Yong Kim captures her heroines’ evaporating naiveté and subtly transforming identities through a stream of breathtaking images that are at once poetic and shockingly natural. At no point in Treeless Mountain do these talented young actresses give the impression that they are, in fact, acting. Their loneliness, confusion and desperation feels as real as any documentary. Between this film and her equally understated 2006 feature, In Between Days, Kim has established herself as force to be reckoned with.

One other note: Oscilloscope Laboratories, the distribution company founded by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, is responsible for releasing Treeless Mountain. With this addition to it’s already robust roster of acquisitions, the company’s curatorial prowess has become so sharply refined, it’s simply flabbergasting. Kelly Reichardt’s phenomenal Wendy and Lucy, the cripplingly emotional true crime documentary Dear Zachary, and Michel Gondry’s hotly anticipated film about his aunt, The Thorn in my Heart, are all films bearing the Oscilloscope brand– a logo on its way to the same realm of respect as Criterion’s lopsided “c.”

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4 comments so far

  1. Anshuman says:

    Still kicking myself for missing this at TIFF.

  2. Brad N says:

    This looks really good. Will have to track it down. In a similar vein, I’d recommend ‘Nobody Knows’ by Hirokazu Kore-eda. It basically tracks the lives of four children abandoned by their mother. Beautiful and devestating. (quality of this vid is pretty bad but the international trailer is too offensive to link to!)

  3. As Brad N Says, it reminds me of “nobody knows” Kore-eda film.
    If you enjoyed “wendy and Lucy” maybe you will love “La libertad” by Lisandro Alonso too.

  4. Jules says:

    Have you seen this: ?
    I think you would like it.