Blogs Crosscuts Women with Vision

Filmmaker Portraits: Rakhshan Bani-Etemad

To celebrate the Walker’s 75th anniversary, Crosscuts will feature a series of filmmakers who have visited the art center over the last few decades.  Consistently featured in the Walker’s Women with Vision series, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad  is Iran’s most renowned female filmmaker. She modulates between documentary and narrative features, but her honest portrayal of the social and […]

To celebrate the Walker’s 75th anniversary, Crosscuts will feature a series of filmmakers who have visited the art center over the last few decades. 

Bani-Etemad during her 2010 visit.

Bani-Etemad during her 2010 visit.

Consistently featured in the Walker’s Women with Vision series, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad  is Iran’s most renowned female filmmaker. She modulates between documentary and narrative features, but her honest portrayal of the social and political issues in Iran remains constant. In April of 2010, she taught a master class at the Walker that addressed issues of authenticity and outlined strategies for how to capture restricted areas on film. Media censorship in Iran is incredibly strict: women cannot be seen wearing any type of revealing clothing, men and women cannot be physically close on screen, Western ideology is curtailed, and there can be no expression of negativity toward religion without due reason. Despite these limitations, Iranian cinema is one of the most thriving film cultures in the world. According to The Atlantic, There are more female filmmakers in Iran than there are in America.

Whether documentary or fiction, Bani-Etemad’s films highlight the resilience of the modern Iranian woman. She has managed to skirt portrayals of prostitutes, love triangles, women’s rights activists, and drug dealing past the Iranian censors. She is also the first woman to ever receive the award for Best Director at the Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran. Bani-Etemad works closely with her daughter, Baran Kosari, who is an actress that has played roles in many of her features.

A variety of Bani-Etemad’s films have screened at the Walker, from 2003’s Our Times, a documentary about Iran’s 2001 elections in which 48 women ran for president, to 2006’s Gilanah which confronts the horrors of war in Iran and Iraq through the eyes of a mother and her pregnant daughter. She also introduced a screening of her film Mainline during her 2010 visit to the Twin Cities. Bani-Etemad’s latest film—Tales—premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in late August.

Winter’s Bone

Director Debra Granik is no newcomer to the harshness of reality. Drawn to subjects with daunting conflicts, Granik’s work focuses on perhaps the grittier facets of life, but does so in a present, observational manner—not to mention starkly beautiful. Similar in title, Down to the Bone, her first feature length film, shares the parallel themes […]

Director Debra Granik is no newcomer to the harshness of reality. Drawn to subjects with daunting conflicts, Granik’s work focuses on perhaps the grittier facets of life, but does so in a present, observational manner—not to mention starkly beautiful. Similar in title, Down to the Bone, her first feature length film, shares the parallel themes of human struggle and perseverance with her latest release Winter’s Bone. Down to the Bone garnered critical acclaim, winning Sundance’s Dramatic Directing Award and the Special Jury Prize for Vera Farmiga’s performance.

Fresh off the festival circuit—with the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Drama in tow—Winter’s Bone, directed by Debra Granik, will grace the Walker Cinema June 2nd. Based on Daniel Woodrell’s novel of the same name, the story is set in the Missouri Ozarks, but truly takes form in the main character Ree Dolly, through her travels and tribulations to save not only her home but also her family.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ8kqytI_oA [/youtube]

The Sundance Channel also put together a nice (and brief) video of Granik discussing Winter’s Bone:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpwmVzgUh1s[/youtube]

Debra Granik’s work has previously screened in the Walker Cinema, in 1999 as a part of Women in the Director’s Chair with Snake Feed, as well as the premiere of Down to the Bone as a part the 2005 Women with Vision film festival.

Debra Granik will be at the Walker June 2nd to introduce Winter’s Bone and participate in a Q&A following the screening.

Laurel Nakadate’s “Dirty Old Men”

by Eric Jones A most appropriate teaser to the upcoming exhibition The Talent Show, Laurel Nakadate’s Stay the Same Never Change premieres at the Walker Cinema on Thursday, March 25 at 7:30 pm. Curator Peter Eleey’s review of Greater New York 2005 at P.S.1 labeled her early work as “disturbed videos of herself horsing around […]

by Eric Jones

Stay The Same Never Change

A most appropriate teaser to the upcoming exhibition The Talent Show, Laurel Nakadate’s Stay the Same Never Change premieres at the Walker Cinema on Thursday, March 25 at 7:30 pm.

Curator Peter Eleey’s review of Greater New York 2005 at P.S.1 labeled her early work as “disturbed videos of herself horsing around with dirty old men (Frieze 2005), and though the embodiment of dirty might be substituted for amazement, severe luck or edging, Nakadate’s staging of non-actors brings her work to this similar arena of reality television or gritty HBO documentaries.

Beg For Your Life

In 2008, I saw her speak during the opening of Yerba Buena’s The Way That We Rhyme: Women, Art & Politics and this Yale graduate startled me with Beg for Your Life, a video series of herself holding a gun to older men’s heads asking them to beg for their lives. The multiple vignettes of these non-actors begging revealed how little they honestly felt threatened (one particular victim barely held back his giggling smile), or objectified for that matter.

In truth, these fantastical dates looked like a good time, then again, I was fresh from Colonize Me in which I was left alone in a room to strip completely naked and await my 2 minutes alone with Vaginal Crème Davis, so I realize mine was an acclimated palate.

Still, I am addicted to her audacity and humor: nude, bored-looking in roller skates while he sketches, dressed in cliché French maid uniform with a dog humping her leg and dance sessions with awkward and strangely loveable older men.

Within her work, among exploding 2 liter bottles of Pepsi and the illusion of naivety, I find the power every online, preteen girl asserts in anonymous flirtation without consequence. Unlike most, I do not see her as bravely going alone with these men because the camera so obviously makes her invincible. She’s indulging them second to her own ego.

Nakadate’s videos immediately draw me into reckless fantasy. With each scene, I earnestly await butterflies, a unicorn and rainbow bursts. Nakadate, a Lisa Frank for adult swingers (or anyone who can create a myspace page), is drunk with the power to cast and see herself in a multitude of roles with many, many men, and all the while knowingly leaving a viewer thinking: That can’t be real? Something of their difference in age and beauty leaves our characters un-marriageable even for a five minute clip.

With that said take your intergenerational internet friend offline and bring them to the Walker for the cheapest date in town on Target FREE Thursday Night. Laurel Nakadate will be present for interrogation or praise and she just might want to take you home for some art-making…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrOGDjzWnUM[/youtube]

Eric Jones graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a BA in English and a minor in Women’s Studies. During the Republican National Convention, he worked at volunteer coordinator for Sharon Hayes’ Revolutionary Love 2: I Am Your Best Fantasy. In October, he received the Minneapolis FEAST grant for the still unfinished Party Bus. Just back from his SW drag tour American Gash: Wide Open Spaces, he will join other queer storytellers at the Bedlam Theatre for a Women’s Prison Book Project Fundraiser on April 10.  He is currently working to co-present Come As You Are MPLS (a celebration of queer sex 40 years after Stonewall) with the Theater Offensive and Mixed Blood Theater on May 22.  This and so much more may be found on his blog.

Eric Jones graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a BA in English and a minor in Women’s Studies. During the Republican National Convention, he worked at volunteer coordinator for Sharon Hayes’ Revolutionary Love 2: I Am Your Best Fantasy. In October, he received the Minneapolis FEAST grant for the still unfinished Party Bus. Just back from his SW drag tour American Gash: Wide Open Spaces, he will join other queer storytellers at the Bedlam Theatre for a Women’s Prison Book Project Fundraiser on April 10.  He is currently working to co-present Come As You Are MPLS (a celebration of queer sex 40 years after Stonewall) with the Theater Offensive and Mixed Blood Theater on May 22.  This and so much more may be found on his blog www.fuckmewhileimgorgeous.blogspot.com.

O’er the Land (of the Free): Deborah Stratman’s Epitaph for American Freedom

I started the film because I was thinking about how we’ve come to understand freedom in this country. More and more over the years, we think about freedom being tied to property ownership, and then property needs to be defended. It seemed to me that a lot of people were defining freedom in terms of […]

I started the film because I was thinking about how we’ve come to understand freedom in this country. More and more over the years, we think about freedom being tied to property ownership, and then property needs to be defended. It seemed to me that a lot of people were defining freedom in terms of commodity or something material whereas for me it still is very much something absolutely nonmaterial and kind of metaphysical.

—Deborah Stratman, VOX interview

As American pioneer freedom dissolved into vague nostalgia (illustrated by Norman Rockwell), we lost our grip on that freedom.  Private property and commodity become the only space left, the only foothold on the eroding cliff of the American dream.  As Marx put it, “all that is solid melts into air.”  Through that thickened air falls Col. William Rankin, the subject of one of O’er the Land’s narratives.  In 1959, Rankin was forced to eject from his F8U fighter jet at 48,000—directly above a thunderstorm.  He fell, blown and buffeted through the thunderhead for forty-five minutes and (miraculously) survived.  He was saved, not by his high-tech American military jet—which had stalled midair—but instead by something non-material and metaphysical.

Throughout her work, Deborah Stratman has tried to grasp at what is beyond our grasp, what we are afraid of losing but have already lost.  In 2003, she instituted a project called FEAR, a toll free number where callers could record a voice-mail of their biggest fear. Not a single message was about a fear of terrorists or the economy.  People were afraid of loneliness, afraid of being unloved or being unable to love.  As we enter a more controlled world, full of security cameras, gated communities, and volunteer border patrols, O’er the Land, like this earlier work, asks if there might be a better way to quell our collective fears.  Put briefly, do we join gun clubs because we just want to be free/loved?

Deborah Stratman’s O’er the Land shows Thursday March 18th at 7:30pm as a part of the Women with Vision 2010 international film festival.  Admission is free thanks to Target Free Thursday Nights.

Jeremy Meckler is a fresh face on the Walker film/video intern scene–a  student at Macalester College in Saint Paul, focusing on film studies and video production, he is always happy to hop across the river for an opportunity to put esoteric skills to use.

Women With Vision: clips and trailers

35 Shots of Rum [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPDvNGruo2Y[/youtube] Lourdes [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7Ec64c3T2I[/youtube] Pride of Lions [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7chWSQlRPCw[/youtube] Vision [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYrIVvK1s6U&feature=related[/youtube] Stay the Same Never Change [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrOGDjzWnUM[/youtube] El General [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWxU075aVtE[/youtube] Fritz: The Walter Mondale Story [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MchFcwuPO0[/youtube]

35 Shots of Rum

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPDvNGruo2Y[/youtube]

Lourdes

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7Ec64c3T2I[/youtube]

Pride of Lions

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7chWSQlRPCw[/youtube]


Vision

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYrIVvK1s6U&feature=related[/youtube]

Stay the Same Never Change

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrOGDjzWnUM[/youtube]

El General

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWxU075aVtE[/youtube]

Fritz: The Walter Mondale Story

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MchFcwuPO0[/youtube]

Treeless Mountain

Treeless Mountain, So Yong Kim’s second feature film is back in Minneapolis. The film screened this past March in the Walker Cinema as a part of the Women With Vision series and is now being released nationwide. The Landmark Cinema (Edina) will be screening Treeless Mountain beginning on Friday July 17th. I strongly encourage anyone who […]

march-2009-walker-001

So Yong Kim at the Women with Vision Festival at Walker

Treeless Mountain, So Yong Kim’s second feature film is back in Minneapolis. The film screened this past March in the Walker Cinema as a part of the Women With Vision series and is now being released nationwide. The Landmark Cinema (Edina) will be screening Treeless Mountain beginning on Friday July 17th. I strongly encourage anyone who missed the March screening to attend the film or even those who attended to see it again.

The New York Times and critics alike have praised the movie since its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. From the unobtrusive camera , to the child-non-actors, Treeless Mountain is wistfully captivating, telling a story reflecting the director’s memories of growing up in Korea.

“Ms. Kim, her camera hovering gently and unobtrusively around the girls as they play, quarrel and daydream, turns their intimate moments into a quiet, poignant drama of abandonment and resilience.”—A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Rarely has a child’s POV been as evocatively emulated as it is in So Yong Kim’s Treeless Mountain, a work of tremendous poise and poignancy that assumes and articulates the perspective and emotional tenor of its two juvenile protagonists.”—Nick Schager, Slant Magazine

In March, So Yong was in attendance to introduce the film and answer a few questions from the audience post screening.  You can find the audio files from this conversation along with a previous blog post about the film on the Walker website.

For more information about So Yong Kim & the film, visit the Oscilliscope website and the Landmark website for screening times.

Ana Mendieta: Restoring films, re-viewing a career

Question: Which of the following 70s artists was the most prolific filmmaker? Robert Smithson Walter de Maria Joan Jonas Nancy Holt Richard Serra Ana Mendieta Mary Kelly Vito Acconci Bruce Nauman Richard Long Dennis Oppenheim OK, the answer is easy, if only owing to the title of this post. But the question is worth asking, […]

Question: Which of the following 70s artists was the most prolific filmmaker?

Robert Smithson

Walter de Maria

Joan Jonas

Nancy Holt

Richard Serra

Ana Mendieta

Mary Kelly

Vito Acconci

Bruce Nauman

Richard Long

Dennis Oppenheim

OK, the answer is easy, if only owing to the title of this post. But the question is worth asking, because:

1) The fact that Ana Mendieta made nearly 80 films has never been very widely known. These films, shot between 1973 and 1981, most using a Super-8 camera, not only bring an intriguing new dimension to Mendieta’s overall body of work, but also raise new questions about it in relation to that of the above artists. And,

2) Fourteeen of her films are on view for free in the Walker’s lecture room through the end of March, some for the first time publicly.

mendieta_sweating_blood_b_w

The Walker has an in-house Mendieta expert in director Olga Viso, who included 10 of the artist’s films in the 2005-2006 retrospective Ana Mendieta: Earth Body, Sculpture and Performance 1972­ – 1985, which she organized while she was at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

After the films went on view here last week, I got a chance to talk with Viso, who is speaking on Mendieta and showing some of the films at MCAD this Wednesday in a free lunchtime lecture. She noted that for well over a decade after Mendieta’s death in 1985, a compilation of her films was circulating, but it was a videotape of the films as they were projected on a wall: “You couldn’t even really read most of them,” she said. While organizing the retrospective, Viso met with Mendieta’s sister. “She showed me a bag of Super 8 film reels. She was trying to start work on digitizing them; a handful had been done at that point. I really urged her to conserve the reels themselves for posterity, and agreed that it was important to digitize them.”

Ultimately, Viso contributed some funds for the films’ restoration, and 10 of the Mendieta films were screened as part of her retrospective. “Because of technology, we were able to present the films side-by-side with drawings or performance residue,” Viso said. “It was really revelatory to people, to see them as Ana intended, at a large scale and on wall in relation to her photographs. (A review in Frieze magazine noted that “the Super-8 films with which [Mendieta] carefully documented her actions form the show’s radiant heart.”)

mendieta-corazon-de-roca-con-sangre-b_w

Mendieta had always been looked at as a photographer who did that work in relation to performance, Viso says, if only because her photos more readily accessible. Now, with more exposure and consideration of her films, a different art-historical take on Mendieta has emerged.

“The films have been critical in the re-evaluation of her work and being seen in a broad national and international context. Before her work was either seen as Latin American art or feminist art. Those constructs are relevant, but there’s more to her work and these films allow that to manifest itself.”

Finally, the films have a special resonance based around the absence of the artist herself, who, like several of her colleagues whose careers flowered in the 1970s, died too soon.

(Images © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection / Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York)

Not Just Talking Heads

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zwmum5_ofU[/youtube] Astra Taylor, Canadian director of Žižek! has conquered and surpassed the traditional aesthetic realm of documentary filmmaking, by moving past the talking head. Her new film, Examined Life takes eight philosophers to the streets, placing them in non-traditional settings (Slavoj Žižek, for example, talks about the fascism of ecology in the midst of a […]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zwmum5_ofU[/youtube]

Astra Taylor, Canadian director of Žižek! has conquered and surpassed the traditional aesthetic realm of documentary filmmaking, by moving past the talking head. Her new film, Examined Life takes eight philosophers to the streets, placing them in non-traditional settings (Slavoj Žižek, for example, talks about the fascism of ecology in the midst of a garbage dump). Needless to say, it’s pretty interesting.

I found a really great interview with Taylor on the Spoutblog – here are a few highlights:

(On her definition of philosophy)

For me, one really simple definition of philosophy I like is that philosophers are people who persist in asking childish questions. Maybe questions that are timeless and eternal and ones in which there is no consensus on the answer. Maybe that’s why some people think it’s an indulgent, pointless exercise, but I don’t see it that way.

Spout: For a film that’s almost entirely comprised of people talking about philosophical concepts, Examined Life is quite dynamic and visually stimulating – how did you conceive the aesthetic for it?

Taylor: I became very invested in the kinetic element of filmmaking. I came to filmmaking by accident. I wasn’t schooled in it, I don’t really know any of the formal language of cinema, I don’t understand three point lighting. One of the biggest letdowns of the documentary format is that its talking heads. People never say that as if it’s a good thing. So when I decided to make an ensemble piece about philosophy, the question that concept raises is will the film just going to be a series of talking heads? So I was thinking about ways to do something inexpensive and yet still make a film that was monologue driven and mostly propelled by speech. I was thinking about different options and of course considered animation. It seems like an obvious tool when you’re making a pedagogical film. I decided I really didn’t want to do that. I decided early on I wanted to make a film devoid of any bells and whistles like that. I wanted to make something very simple and formal.

Examined Life will be screened on Friday, March 13 as a part of the Women with Vision Series in the Walker Cinema. Director Astra Taylor will be in attendance to introduce the film.

Here Comes the Sun Queen (and Other Women With Vision)

“I feel like I’m a woman with vision — in 3D,” says my fully dimensioned friend Melissa Butts, co-director of 3D Sun and principal force behind the Minneapolis-based Melrae Pictures. “Where I don’t consider myself a woman with vision is in the sense of being a female director,” she continues. “I happened to co-direct this […]

3D Sun

3D Sun

“I feel like I’m a woman with vision — in 3D,” says my fully dimensioned friend Melissa Butts, co-director of 3D Sun and principal force behind the Minneapolis-based Melrae Pictures.

“Where I don’t consider myself a woman with vision is in the sense of being a female director,” she continues. “I happened to co-direct this film [with Barry Kimm]. Will I direct other films? Not necessarily. It’s not my passion. But I have wanted to be a pioneer in this revolutionary field of 3D storytelling.”

Butts’s 3D Sun, comin’ at ya this weekend as part of the Walker’s “Women With Vision: Dimensions,” is a hot property in many ways, as well as the rare movie of any depth whose stated intent is thoroughly fulfilled. In the very first moments of the 22-minute film, over an eyepopping image of the titular fireball, a female narrator promises: “You are going to see a star, an astrophysical object, in three dimensions, with great resolution, for the very first time.” Ah, if only all movies offered such truth in advertising.

Visionary indeed, Butts was far ahead of the curve in recognizing hi-def 3D — the future of commercial movies, many claim — as an emerging market. Four years ago, she delivered a stereoscopic version of another outer-space documentary she made with Kimm, Future Frontiers: Mars, to the Science Museum of Minnesota, which had just installed a 3D digital projection system in one of its theaters. The challenge of inventing the wheel — or reel, virtually speaking — was precisely the appeal for Butts.

“You get intoxicated by the challenge of pushing the big rock up the hill, trying to figure it all out,” she says. “There weren’t a lot of people doing [digital 3D] then. What we were doing was more than cutting edge. It was like bleeding edge.”

3D Sun, too, has been “up-rezzed,” this time to giant-screen IMAX for its current screenings at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

At the Walker this weekend (every half-hour in the Lecture Room, from Friday thru Sunday), the film’s third dimension will emerge through the combination of two carefully synched Panasonic HD projectors, a gigantic server, and a special silver screen.

When asked to measure the film’s gargantuan size, Butts (who’ll speak in the Lecture Room at 4 p.m. on Saturday) says that she and Kimm, working in close collaboration with NASA and various computer animators from Minnesota and beyond, amassed some 150,000 .tif files — i.e., 75,000 for each eye.

Alas, the numbers of 3D filmmakers aren’t so evenly proportioned when it comes to gender.

Butts was one of only three women presenting work at 3DX, a film festival held in Singapore last November. The others — Catherine Owens (co-director of U2 3D) and Charlotte Huggins (co-producer of Journey to the Center of the Earth) — realized the extent of their minority and, as Butts recalls, said to her, “Is this crazy or what? There are only three women here — us!”

Even having two female colleagues is rare in a milieu where, Butts says, “you kind of get used to being one of the few women in the room.” A Parisian woman whom Butts met at a festival in France last summer suggested they form a Women’s Stereoscopic Society by way of banding together.

3D Sun was screening at this [French] festival,” Butts says, “but there were no women presenting content to the audience, no women talking about their role in digital cinema, 3D or otherwise. We all noticed it.”

Which, Butts agrees, is another way of noting the continued necessity of a women’s film festival.

Examined Life

Examined Life

Not to get all Bill & Ted in this excellent adventure, but what would ol’ Socrates have made of 3D Sun?

Beyond the near-certain probability that the flick would’ve flipped his wig, we can’t know how the ancient philosopher (“The unexamined life is not worth living”) would have reviewed it. But thanks to Astra Taylor’s Examined Life, screening March 13 at “Women With Vision,” we can study Martha Nussbaum’s take on social democracy, Peter Singer’s meditation on the (im)morality of conspicuous consumption, Kwame Anthony Appiah’s ode to human evolutionary cosmopolitanism, and Cornel West’s theories of death and desire. Slavoj Zizek, star of Taylor’s earlier doc Zizek!, appears in the film beside a garbage heap as he recycles his own notions of ecological ideology.

As I wrote in Variety from Toronto last fall, Examined Life serves as a playful riposte to the idea that movies are mainly for turning one’s mind off. The same could be said of the other “WWV” films I’ve seen and loved, including Claire Simon’s reproductive rights tract God’s Offices (a suitably unplayful riposte to Juno, one could say) and Katia’s Sister by Mijke de Jong, who trains a piercing lens on a Russian emigrant girl’s rough acclimation to life in Amsterdam in a manner that recalls Rosetta.

Before you say there’s nothing new under the sun, examine how life in these distinctly Dardennes-esque dramas appears different for having been captured not by brothers, but sisters.

Treeless Mountain

In an attempt to conjure up one word to describe So Yong Kim’s second film, Treeless Mountain, I immediately came up with melancholic. The story, based loosely on So Yong Kim’s childhood, revolves around two children, Jin and Bin, who in essence are abandoned by their mother when she places them in temporary holding with […]

In an attempt to conjure up one word to describe So Yong Kim’s second film, Treeless Mountain, I immediately came up with melancholic. The story, based loosely on So Yong Kim’s childhood, revolves around two children, Jin and Bin, who in essence are abandoned by their mother when she places them in temporary holding with their aunt, referred to as Big Aunt.  With the summer ending and their mother still gone, the girls are moved to a farm owned by their grandparents.

Treeless Mountain

Treeless Mountain

 The visual component of the film surpasses the singular description of melancholic. Alone, melancholic sets the viewer on the wrong foot, the wrong emotional key upon viewing.  Clearly one adjective cannot describe Treeless Mountain; indeed it needed at least two words. Within the story So Yong Kim tells, an almost lush array of visual undertones surface. Jin, the older child in the Treeless Mountain (played by Hee Yeon Kim), doesn’t do much in the traditional sense of acting. Most of what Jin portrays is a simple, natural performance of a child. It is here, in the captive space of So Yong Kim’s observational camera, where the story truly begins to surface and the second description of the film became apparent-wistful. There is a softness in the long takes and thoughtful close-ups of Treeless Mountain. Because the lens is focused on the methodical yet unscripted movements of the children, the film captures the sincerity of youth.

Throughout Treeless Mountain, the sisters work together, perhaps not intentionally, to not only to survive but to fill a void in each other. There is no music in the film, which lends to the wistful style of So Yong Kim’s cinematic eye, to enhance the interactions between the siblings. It is here that the bond of the sisters shines through, and made clear that by surviving and taking care of her younger sister, Jin has filled the missing component in her heart.

 Treeless Mountain marks the first film of the Walker’s Women with Vision series. Director So Yong Kim will be in attendance on Friday March 6th in the Walker Cinema to introduce the film.

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