For the uninitiated, Soon-rye Yim's 'Little Forest' is a remake the Japanese minimal-arthouse film of the same name. I must admit, I was pretty uninitiated, and watched this delightful Korean film first. I actually preferred it to the original, it's a much easier view, focussing on the character Hye-Won played by the excellent Tae-ri Kim and relations with her mother and friends. It's a different approach to the original, more mainstream and accessible. Rural life is at the heart of things, but doesn't always take centre-stage. So, while the Japanese film documents so much detail (weather, food, recipes, cultural events, nature etc.) you lose sight of the people, which may have been the intention. Both films have their merits, but I found this one enchanting. The support work of the other actors makes the story fun and engaging (Jun-yeol Ryu is quite heroic and funny in the role of local farmer Jae-ha, Hye-won's possible 'love interest', and Ki-joo Jin is excellent as the feisty no-nonsense best friend Eun-sook), and there's a nice arc at the end, so some 'matters' seem to be resolved (unlike in the Japanese film, will they make a 3rd version so we can find out what actually happened to the mother, for example?). So my advice, watch the original 'Little Forest' but take plenty of supplies and climb the 'mountain' in stages (with both 2014's Summer-Autumn and 2015's Winter-Spring that's 4 hours of dense and detailed viewing). While you're making all the necessary preparations, sit back and enjoy this little charmer!
A young woman grows tired of life in the city and returns to her hometown in the countryside.
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September 24, 2019