‘Moon, Thread’ paints a picture of a lonely, little figure grappling with the feeling of loss. The 14-minute short, which is directed by Chung Sum and Lee Doh, tells the story of a young-girl named Min-hee. With its naturalistic impressions of her milieu, the film tries to convey her own little world with very few yet precise details. While showing the present conditions, it also tries to evoke the feelings from the past with immaculate compositions.
Just look at the very first frame of the short. We see this young girl lying on the ground, while all the leaves and the natural habitat surround her. She almost becomes a part of nature while sleeping in its womb. The colors are significantly neutral which gives the film almost an eerie feeling. The melancholy evoked within this short span speaks volumes on how the death of her mother makes her seek her traces in every other thing around her. She tries to get closer to any kind of sign which would remind her of her mother’s existence.
But of course, a naïve, little girl like her wouldn’t understand the matters of life and death. She is confronted with the memories of her mother while staying with her grandfather for the time being. Because of that, the bed-time stories would be her sources to seek any sort of wisdom. Grandfather tells her the story of a prince and a princess and how a long thread becomes a source to connect with one another. She finds a connection, rather a parallel in her life, with these threads. She caresses the woolen clothes her mother used to knit with such threads. There’s a sense of warmth achieved with the sustained take, giving the scene to take a little closer to Min-hee.
However, a sense of melancholia is constant throughout the frames, especially because of their color pallets; some of these frames feel vacuous, dry and devoid of any particular human emotion. Even when the narrative tries to present different metaphors like a hanging thread, a cave, the shadows or even the clock, the film’s treatment feels a little more heavy-handed. The reason seems to be how it emphasizes more on these symbolic representations than getting in-depth towards understanding Min-hee’s character.
The beautifully constructed frames certainly try to create a rhythm into how she perceives the outer world. Since most of the narration is built around wordless communication, the compositions seem even more apt to get the message across. But the music which comes in particular instances, make those moments seem manipulative. They seem like an elaborate attempt to go back to the character. It manipulates into feeling her emotion, without knowing enough about what actually makes her feel that way.
And that leaves very little room to empathy or a genuine connection towards Min-hee’s sense of melancholia. As a result, ‘Moon, Thread’, which dwells very little into the character’s psyche, remains to be just an impressive attempt.