Dir: Jeon Soo-il
Running Time: 88 mins
A bleak mining town in rural South Korea is the setting for Jeon Soo-il’s clumsily titled With a Girl of Black Soil. The story follows schoolgirl Yeong-lim (Yu Yun-mi) as she helps care for her mentally handicapped brother, a father who has lost his job in the mines all while facing eviction from a home marked for demolition. Sadly Yun-mi’s cute face isn’t enough to maintain interest in this slow moving family drama that sorely lacks that key ingredient – drama. There are a few tender scenes between brother and sister that are enough to pique some interest but these fleeting moments are lost amongst the vast landscapes, long silences and lingering looks. With a Girl of Black Soil is classic film festival fare whose arty clichés are not enough to make up for the near lack of drama.