“A film that has garnered recognition for its cinematography and direction by eliminating sentimentality and unaffectedly capturing the quiet life of a mountain temple. A Hometown in Heart demonstrates the camera technique and directorial skill of movies that appeared after the liberation of Korea.”
A Hometown in Heart, adapted from playwright Ham Se-deok’s A Little Monk (Dong-seung), was hailed upon its release as “a masterpiece that marked a new pinnacle in Korean moviemaking after the liberation.” Eschewing new-school sentimentality to quietly express a boy’s longing for maternal love, the film unfolds the everyday lives of three generationsthe head monk, a young monk, and a little child monkagainst the backdrop of a quiet temple in the mountains. The long shots utilized by director of cinematography Han Hyung-mo to capture the beautiful scenery of the mountain temple from a distance received great critical acclaim at the time.Also, each of the film’s characters is convincingly portrayed through the skillful direction of Yoon Yong-kyu. In particular, the scene which expresses Do-seong’s desperate yearning for a mother’s love and his birth mother’s past visit to the temple by combining them into a dream sequence reveals deep consideration for articulating story and emotion via a compressed visual grammar without tending toward sentimentalism. The movie’s final scene, in which Do-seong awakens from his dream and sets off down the path in search of his mother, is both touching and beautiful. The film also features Choi Eun-hee, in the part of the young widow who warmly embraces Do-seong with her love, in one of her first roles.
– Lee Kang-su, writing under the pseudonym of Kwak Il-byeong, first adapted playwright Ham Se-deok’s A Little Monk (Dong-seung) into a screenplay, which was then shot for the silver screen with additional embellishments by the director.
Subtitles:English, Korean, Chinese