Cast: Joo Ye-lim, Kim Na-yeon, Kim Sia
Official Selection, 2019 BFI London Film Festival
12-year-old Hana is fed up with her parents’ fighting, so she concocts a plan. She remembers how, many years ago, a family trip brought them all together, so perhaps now with the arrival of summer break, she could just convince them to drop the yelling and take a getaway. Meanwhile, she befriends two young sisters–Yoomi and Yoojin–who have home woes of their own: their landlord is trying to kick them out. Together, the three girls realize it’s up to them to save their respective homes, but more importantly, be there for each other in this most important summer.
With a realist charm that would make even Kore-eda smile, THE HOUSE OF US depicts a youthful idealism best observed independently of fickle adults. These are the moments of play, creativity, and wondrous scheming–the kind of insular imaginings that clutch hope because it’s the only thing kids have. But as in Yoon Ga-eun’s previous The World of Us (SDAFF ’16), the stakes are all-too real and there’s a stark understanding that worlds and houses aren’t designed for young girls to confront their demands or desires. And thus, they create their own worlds–rooms within homes, friendships within neighborhoods– that concretize in everyday pleasures the vivacious optimism of sisterhood.