South Korea | 2018 | 103 min | Korean
Based on Daisuke Igarashi’s 2002 manga comic-book series of the same name, this gentle live-action drama concerns 20-something Hye-won who, having failed her teaching exams and grown disenchanted with her deadbeat job and rocky relationship in Seoul, impulsively moves back to her mother’s deserted countryside home. There she reconnects with two childhood friends—fruit-and-vegetable farmer Jae-ha and bank teller Eun-sook—with whom she shares a winning chemistry. The film’s four acts vividly chronicle the changing of the seasons as Hye-won begins to rebuild her life against a wintry landscape, reaps a bountiful summer harvest and revisits memories of her enigmatic mother from whom she has inherited a love of cooking. With an unhurried pace and sensual scenes of South Korean and international gastronomy (fried acacia-flower fritters, makgeolli rice wine, crème brûlée…) Little Forest is a charming celebration of food, nature, friendship and family.
Born in the South Korean city of Incheon in 1961, Yim Soon-rye holds a BA in English literature and an MA in theatre and film from Hanyang University. She also completed a master’s in film studies at Université Paris 8, with a thesis on Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi. Yim has won recognition for her gentle but powerful direction in films including Waikiki Brothers (2001), Forever the Moment (2008), South Bound (2013) and The Whistleblower (2014). “I hope Little Forest will be a time of rest for many people,” says the director. “While they watch the movie, I hope viewers can forget about their worries of love, exams, and work, and follow the special four seasons of Hye-won and her friends. Then perhaps they can find ways to stop, rest and regenerate too.”