Treeless Mountain is a foreign indie film that is both a simple and sad story about two kids basically living on their own after their mother leaves. The two young children put on great performances considering their age. It’s a film that was pretty well done but lacked in substance.
Taking place in Seoul, Korea two young sisters named Jin and Bin must stick together after their mother leaves them to reconcile their father. Their mother takes them to their aunt who is something they barely know. Before the mother leaves, she gives them a piggy bank promising she would return when the bank is full of coins.
Because their mother told them that she would return once they filled the piggy bank up with coins, they work hard on doing so. Thinking the faster they come up with enough coins, the faster they will see their mother again. As if their mother would somehow know exactly when it was full. They first begin doing so by catching grasshoppers and then selling them.
Bin then later stumbles upon another stunning discovery on how to get more coins. She purchases a bun to eat with a single coin and receives her change in form of many low values coins. They don’t understand the concept of value, but rather the quantity they need in order to fill up the piggy bank. So they exchange all their larger valued coins for many smaller ones.
It’s a concept we all been through as a kid when we did not know of value, only amounts. Which is why as kids we were excited to see many presents underneath the Christmas tree, thinking more is better. Also you would get excited if there was a large wrapped present. Even if the value would be the same as one small gift.
The two sisters first see their mother leave from a top of this large dirt hill. To them it seems like a mountain, where they can see things that appear far away. Thus explaining the title of the film. Bin picks up a small tree branch and together they plant it as if it were an actual tree on this mountain of theirs.
There is not a score in the film at all, in fact there is no music found in it at all. I found this to be a little odd. It’s really a shame because I think that would have really helped give it more emotion. Because of this, it is a rather quiet film. Without music, the powerful story isn’t as effective as it could have been.
There are some really beautiful scenery shots throughout the film used in place of music to change scenes. The camera work as a whole was exceptional which explains why it was nominated for Best Cinematography at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards. Treeless Mountain mostly comprised of close up and tight shots of the subjects.
Treeless Mountain is a slow and quite film with an overly simple storyline that had potential of a powerful one. It certainly is not a bad film, where it lacks in content it shines in acting performances and cinematography, I just wished the ending wasn’t as forgettable.