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February 22 - February 23

Two Films by So Yong Kim

So Yong Kim (b. 1971) is one of the most authentic and wholly original young filmmakers working in American independent cinema today. Kim has made two extraordinary autobiographically inspired features, In Between Days (2007) and Treeless Mountain (2008), that each distinctly channel her own experience of displacement (she was transplanted as a twelve-year old from Pusan to Los Angeles) to vividly render the intensities of youth. Avoiding predictable coming-of-age formulas, Kim's films instead adopt the distinct perspectives unique to children and adolescents, their potent way of seeing and intuitively relating to the surrounding world. Working predominantly with non-professional actors and minimal scripts, Kim creates remarkably nuanced character studies that balance verité intensity with a richness of poetic detail. Like the young girls who star within them, Kim´s film are shaped by an intimate and remarkably non-judgmental mode of observation that measures the weight of even the smallest gestures, capturing the subtlest shifts of emotion that define a relationship.

A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied painting, performance and video art, Kim has also worked as a producer on various films directed by her husband, frequent co-editor and creative partner, Bradley Rust Grey. The Harvard Film Archive is pleased to welcome So Yong Kim for a discussion of her two films and extraordinarily promising career.

This program is co-presented with the Korea Institute, Harvard. Funding is generously provided by the Academy of Korean Studies, Korea. Special thanks: Susan Laurence, Catherine Glover, Korea Institute, Harvard.
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Special Event Tickets $10
Sunday February 22 at 7pm

In Between Days

Directed by So Yong Kim, Appearing in Person
With Jiseon Kim, Taegu Andy Kang, Bokja Kim
US 2006, video, color, 82 min. English and Korean with English subtitles
Print from Kino International

Kim's powerful debut feature follows the lonely existence of a young South Korean girl recently arrived in North America and struggling to find a place for herself in a land whose language and customs she barely understands. First-time actress Jiseon Kim is remarkable as the young girl whose encounter with first love, with a slightly more assimilated Korean boy, proves as mysterious and difficult to navigate as the snowy and the anonymous exurban space of her new home. Shot on hand-held digital video, In Between Days—which was awarded a Special Jury Prize for Independent Vision at Sundance—beautifully evokes the drifting state of a young woman acutely awake to the foreign world around her.

 Listen to this evening's introduction, discussion and Q&A.

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Special Event Tickets $10
Monday February 23 at 7pm

Treeless Mountain

Directed by So Yong Kim, Appearing in Person
With Hee Yeon Kim, Song Hee Kim, Soo Ah Lee
US/South Korea 2008, 35mm, color, 89 min. Korean with English subtitles
Print from Oscilloscope Pictures

A heart-rending homage to the resilience and imagination of children, Treeless Mountain tells the story of two young sisters suddenly abandoned by their mother and left with a rigid alcoholic aunt in a remote small town. Filmed near Kim's hometown of Hunghae, South Korea, Treeless Mountain was conceived as a "letter" to her mother and based on an indelible childhood experience. The casting of seasoned Korean performers in the adult roles beautifully frames the incredible untutored five and six-year old lead actresses discovered by Kim after an exhaustive casting, and makes clear the ultimate incompatibility of the parallel worlds created and inhabited by children and adults. Keeping dialogue to a wonderful minimum, Treeless Mountain carefully observes the rituals of play that bond the two sisters as they face an uncaring world with a fortitude far beyond their tender age.

A Bunny Rabbit

Directed by So Yong Kim, Appearing in Person
US 2002, video, color & b/w, 5 min.

 

 

 

 Listen to this evening's introduction, discussion and Q&A.




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