Treeless Mountain: 3 of 5 stars

Roger Moore

"Great" performances by very young children in movies are rare, but there are two tiny jewels at the heart of the Korean melodrama Treeless Mountain.

For Treeless Mountain, So Yong Kim (In Between Days) has crafted an intimate fable about two sisters (Hee-yeon Kim, Song-hee Kim) pretty much abandoned by their mother, left with an aunt with no nurturing skills while mom goes off to find their no-good dad.

They travel from Seoul to Auntie's small town and onward to the countryside, always fending for themselves no matter which adult is assigned to look after them. It's a touching but somewhat generic story rendered novel by its Korean setting.

Kim keeps her camera close to the kids and lets their faces tell the story, making this a subtitled film in which reading the subtitles isn't all that important. The pace is slow but the bullied, ignored and resourceful moppets make this a tender tale well worth watching.

Screening at: 1 p.m. Sunday, March 29, Regal; 9:15 p.m. Monday, March 30, Regal.

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