The Newly Coming Seasons


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

The Newly Coming Seasons
"Min Sung-ah's character design and artwork are masterful."

Made with the cooperation of the (South Korean) Demilitarized Zone Ecology Institute, this is a stunningly pretty film about the natural world of the 38th parallel. Opening with watercolour birds in the snow, watching them perch on barbed wire and chain-link, chased away by magpies, we watch the four seasons roll through in a landscape that's brilliantly delineated. Featuring species like the Red-crowned Crane, a praying mantis, a worried grasshopper, flowers and trees, it's inked, painted, onto a textured background.

In places the compositing here makes it appear that moving elements have been superimposed, but in others, indeed, mostly, it is as if a scroll has started to move. With calligraphic precision, brushed entities slide across the screen - negative space becomes fog, the upper reaches give us the implication of sky. Min Sung-ah's character design and artwork are masterful, his work amply served by Lee Young-bin's sound work and Kim Tae-seong's music.

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This is touching, delicate like the artwork, with a variety of musicians credited including someone on Ocarina. The credits are very good, also painted, Korean characters woven into still backgrounds, the English running at 90-degrees to vertical. The price of that beauty is some loss of legibility, at least on smaller screens, but it's an easy one to pay. This is a touching, truly beautiful piece of work.

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2010
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Four seasons pass in the Demilitarized Zone in Korea.
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Director: Ming Sun-ah

Year: 2009

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: South Korea


EIFF 2010

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