The Peach Tree

복숭아나무 (Korea, 2012)
North American Premiere
106 minutes, HD CAM, Korean with English subtitles
Directed by: Ku Hye-Sun
Starring: Cho Seung-Woo, Ryu Deok-Hwan, Nam Sang-Mi

When we say we’re screening THE PEACH TREE, a movie about a kid with two heads trying to learn about love, you’ve got a pretty good idea of how insane this movie is going to be. Surprise! THE PEACH TREE is actually a deeply felt, sensitive romance about the price children pay for disappointing their parents and about the debt that siblings owe one another.

Told in the dazzling late afternoon light of a fairy tale, THE PEACH TREE starts with a young couple in love who have a baby that turns out to have two heads. Their mother goes insane, but Dad simply moves them to the country and isolates everyone: insane mother locked away upstairs, conjoined brothers told they can never leave the house. And so they live for 30 years. As they grow up the conjoined brothers reveal their very different personalities. Dong-Hyun, who controls their shared body, is angry and wants more from life. He dreams of being an author, meeting a girl, being free from his brother. Sang-Hyun is the sweet dreamer, unable to do anything but speak, as patient and harmless as his brother is violently angry.

Trying to make Dong-Hyun’s dream of writing a book come true, Dad invites a children’s book illustrator, Park Seung-Ah, into their home. Desperate to appear “normal” Dong-Hyun will do anything to hide his brother, but as their book makes a sale and the publisher realizes that a book by a man with two heads will be the ultimate marketing tool, the delicate, golden world the boys have lived in gets cracked in half and all its bloody insides are exposed to the harsh glare of real life.

TV star Nam Sang-Mi plays the illustrator Park, and TV star Ryu Deok-Hwan plays the angry, hotheaded Dong-Hyun, while his brother, Sang Hyun, is played by Cho Seung-Woo, one of Korean cinema’s most respected young actors. The film is directed by Ku Hye-Sun, nicknamed “Ku-onardo DaVinci” for her wide-ranging interests. One of Korea’s few female directors, she started out as a massive television star in the hit Boys Over Flowers series. Groomed to be a pop star she wound up appearing in several major television series instead (although she’s also released an album). In 2009, she wrote the best-selling novel Tango and held her first gallery show. Only 28 years old, she wrote THE PEACH TREE as a novel in two weeks. The film version flopped when it came out (only 30,000 people bought tickets) but it is a jagged, strange movie, zigging where others zag. When you’ve finished watching this film you know you’ve seen something totally and completely personal, private, and unique.

Tuesday July 9, 2:15PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets