Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Treeless Mountain 2008

Directed by So Yong Kim

Two little Korean girls are the stars of this intimate drama of childhood. “Conveys the joys, worries and hurts of early childhood with keen poignancy and barely a speck of sentimentality.” — Eye Weekly

South Korea / USA In Korean with English subtitles
98 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Bradley Rust Gray
Ben Howe
Lars Knudsen
Jay Van Hoy
So Yong Kim


Anne Misawa


So Yong Kim
Bradley Rust Gray

Production designer

See Hee Kim


Eric Offin/Tandem Sound


Asobi Seksu


Hee Yeon Kim (Jin)
Song Hee Kim (Bin)
Soo Ah Lee (mom)
Mi Hyang Kim (big aunt)
Boon Tak Park (grandma)


Festivals: Toronto, Pusan 2008; Berlin, New Directors/New Films 2009


Using a breathlessly attentive telephoto lens that her tiny subjects seem never to have noticed, American-Korean director So Yong Kim (In Between Days) draws us uncannily closely into the imaginative worlds of two little Korean girls, aged six and four. When their mother is evicted from their city apartment and heads away to track down their father, Jin and little Bin are deposited with a series of less citified relations. With a tender, observant eye for their interaction, Kim shows us the stories the sisters invent and inhabit together as they adapt to repeated abandonment and constant changes in their circumstances. What could easily play for pathos is instead an eloquently cinematic appreciation of children's capacity to deal with the mystery of adult behaviour. — BG

“No director working today captures girlhood better than So Yong Kim... Treeless Mountain is simply one of the best films about childhood ever made.” — Melissa Anderson, Village Voice