Mother Land

Mother Land
Mother Land
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Before beginning, Mother Land, a beautiful film by Park Jae-beom, can be proud of many things. It is an animated stop-motion movie from South Korea that has never been done for a while and even outside all this around the world such films are rarely seen. It is not too long a movie, just over one hour but it achieves much in it giving us a down-to-earth story with lots of love in it and surely something that will keep people entertained regardless of age.

The family which rears reindeer while moving through Siberian tundra without settling anywhere permanently is the Yates family depicted in Mother Land. After an unforgiving winter, Shoora catches some disease. The old shaman woman tells them to go and ask for help from the master of forest who is an ancient being who dwells within the nearby woods transformed into gigantic rosy-eyed bear overseeing all there.

Krisha, a young daughter of this tribe runs away against her parents’ wishes into a journey towards the master of forest with intentions to save her own mother basing on some unknown conection attributed to herself and this creature. She only takes along her pet reindeer as company; however Krisha is unaware that her little brother Kolya had snuck inside their sackage and joined her quest.

From here on out it becomes about growing up for both Krisha and Kolya. At the start of the movie they have pretty typical roles you would expect seeing between two small children at their early ages. This brings Krisha closer to puberty where she faces first serious moments when she learns how to support or protect her sibling who also understands what life means when taken seriously.

At its very core, humanity versus nature tale grounded simply, traditional against modernity; these are always on full display through stark contrast between natural tradition and civilisation’s artifices. An instructive scene occurs early on wherein Shoora receives pills brought from a neighboring village only to throw them up immediately.

Vladimir and Bazak, the antagonists of this work are two hunters who were dispatched by the federal government to kill the master of forest and demonstrate to those wandering people that they were not protected by any magic and needed the power of the state for their safety. Vladimir is a good-for-nothing who can pay anything to anyone in order to achieve his dreams while Bazak is just the kind of haunted man he desired as an employee.

The film’s visuals are breathtaking throughout the journey. It must have been hard to depict intricate details when your forest environment covered with foliage, mosses and small creatures happening all over is so crowded. Unexpected variety of locations and objects are shown on screen for such kind of movie; even in scenes during harshest snow storms there are always some vibrant ones among them.

The action sequences are intense and nail-biting, not losing anything in the selected medium. Moreover, stop-motion produces magic and awe that is hardly seen in high budget family movies.

It also helps when the subtitles are well-translated clearly, which they were, so credit where credit’s due in that department as well.

The voice actors have really done a good job too. Even those who do not understand spoken words can easily see through their effort to make every character sound distinct. The lead actress Lee Jun-Yi who is Krisha’s mother Kim Ye-eun serve as the heart of the film with others actors such as Lee Yong-nyeo playing an old shaman woman giving their best performances by engaging audiences through emotional acting. She seems to be enjoying herself immensely—it shows.

Mother Land, however a film for all ages only wants to amuse its viewers and has no mean thoughts at all. That is not to say that it doesn’t throw up any surprises – there was an audible gasp from one or two people in the audience during the screening. It remind us of those classic Rankin Bass animations where we feel like magic could exist even if for a while.

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