House of Hummingbird (2018) Review – A Ballad of Life


“House of hummingbird” serves as a reflection to the complexities of life. You just feel sometimes that there is so much absurdity to life. You never really understand what causes a trigger in an individual. There is no specific pattern to human behaviour. We misconstrue the whole situation when we start to stereotype. Eun-hee simply asks a question “why is our life so messed up?” You just cannot answer that question objectively because everyone sees life through their tinted reality. A pressing issue for you might be totally superfluous in nature for someone else. Somewhere in between all these convolutions of life a soul gets lost. There are a few fortunate ones who are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and fight their way back.

The Story

“House of hummingbird” is a coming of age story of Eun-hee played by the mesmerising Park Ji-hoo. Bora Kim, the director, builds a narrative around a middle class business family where the children are continuously stuffed with the importance of getting good grades and going to a reputed university. Eun-hee is often told by her family and teachers that how unwary and negligent she has been. It seems like the meaning of human existence itself is to obtain a degree from a renowned institute and lead a financially stable life. Eun-hee meets many individuals during this straight patch of her life and shares some intimate moments during which she seems to wake up from her slumber. But these usually short lived and life didn’t spare a moment in pouncing back and reigning havoc once again.

A Stone Deaf World

The irony of our times is that there are millions of mouth piece but a handful of ears. Only if we learn to listen, this world would not have been weary of distressed souls. Bora Kim’s gaping screenplay does not depend on the contingency of events to move forward instead it evolves while embracing the cavernous possibilities of life. So we are never waiting for that huge climax or that last battle but we witness the human emotions reaching their saturation point and life elucidating its obscure meanings. It has been an attribute unique to the south Korean films, that their screenplay encompasses a balletic nature. It feels like the screenplay is an extract from a poem. The cinematography too adds a rhythm to the whole narrative. When Kim Young-Ji, played by Saebyuk Kim, meets Eun-hee for the first time as her Chinese character tutor, she does something that nobody had done. She listens! There is some affability about this character that you know just by her body language. She’s not going to impose her understanding of wrong and right on a person instead she would caress the convoluted thought process and make the individual believe that they are free from any kind of judgment. She is the one who notices that Eun-hee has a flare for sketching and drawing. Sometimes that is all a person asks for.

The story is set in the backdrop of certain important political and social events in the South Korean history that have an impact on the build up of the story. Bora Kim treats all her characters with utmost prudence. There is a deep understanding of human psyche behind every character. May it be the brother Dae-hoon who beats Eun-hee to take out his frustration or the constantly bone weary mother or the heedless father. In a commercial flick they would have been the antagonist, but here you empathize with them.

 It amazes me to see a young actor like Park Ji-hoo delivers such a diverse performance.

The “House of Hummingbird” whispers the song of life and leaves it up to us to pay heed or turn a deaf ear towards it. It tries to find an answer to the rhetoric and asks us the intrinsic age old question

“Is there any right way to live?”

House of Hummingbird is a South Korean drama film written and directed by Kim Bora released in 2018. It is available on Video-on-Demand.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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