House of Hummingbird Image

There has been a surge of 90’s nostalgia lately that I don’t exactly feel comfortable with because that’s the decade which I came of age and I don’t want to believe that 1994 was 25 years ago. However, House of Hummingbird is forgiven for being set in the ’90s because of how brilliant it is. Taking place in Seoul, South Korea, the year that the Seongsu Bridge collapsed and the death of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-Il’s father; the film focuses on the life of one middle school girl named Eun-hee.

“Eun-hee doesn’t necessarily care for school, often falling asleep or drawing comics during class…”

Eun-hee doesn’t necessarily care for school, often falling asleep or drawing comics during class. She seems to be somewhat depressed, except for when she’s with her best friend or her boyfriend. We see why this is when we take a look at her home life. Her father is a relentless disciplinarian, while her mother is often in her own world, resenting the fact that she has to raise children and didn’t go to college and make her own life. Her brother often beats her with a bamboo sword. Her older sister is somewhat of an extension of Eun-hee and a projection of what she might become. She has to travel across town to go to a different school for underachieving students and often sneaks out at night or sneaks her boyfriend through the window.

Eun-hee wishes that she could escape her family and the mediocrity her life has set out before her, which exacerbates her depression and therefore her tendency to act out. She is nominated by her homeroom classmates as the “most delinquent” student. She proves this to be true by skipping class to smoke cigarettes and go to karaoke, as well as shoplifting with her best friend.

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