Rarely has the world of a young child been so vividly and delicately brought to life.
The perspective of any film is informed by whoever it is that’s putting the story on screen. This often poses a difficulty for children’s films, which must merge an adult director’s vision with the viewpoint of its young protagonists. This conundrum makes The World of Us, the Berlin-invited feature debut of acclaimed short filmmaker Yoon Ga-eun, all the more remarkable, as rarely has the world of a young child been so vividly and delicately brought to life.
In the film, a shy young elementary school girl makes a new friend during the summer holidays. This relationship is put to test when they return to the classroom, where their social backgrounds drive a wedge between them.
Parents, with their different income brackets and family situations, shape the lives of these children, but the real drama happens between the girls in the classroom, the playground and on the sun-drenched streets of summer. New actress Choi Soo-in is a marvel in the lead role, both reserved and skittish as she bottles up a wealth of confusing new emotions.
As she has with her shorts, which include Sprout, Yoon rarely breaks away from her young cast, training her camera closely on them without ever suffocating them. The World of Us boils down the complexities of adult life to their inception and poignantly delivers them through the waning innocence of its young stars. It is a small marvel that cloaks its complexities with an effortless simplicity.
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By Pierce Conran (Producer at 2Mr Films, film critic)