In a rapidly expanding Seoul in 1994, Eun-hee’s chaotic life is bearable thanks to her secret boyfriend and best friend at Chinese class. At home, however, her parents are overbearing and distant, focused more on scolding her than addressing their own issues. Eun-hee’s world changes when a new Chinese teacher arrives who takes an interest in her feelings and teaches her about things beyond her own experience. But even the good things in her life seem like they won’t last forever. A new friend’s advances complicate her perception of self, and there is the small concern of a mysterious lump behind her ear.

Fifteen-year-old Park Ji-hu takes on her first leading role with grace, while Bora Kim’s autobiographical touch imbues House of Hummingbird with loving tributes to the joys and confusion of adolescence, using a notorious summer in Korean history to exemplify a period of profound discovery and change.

Chris Cassingham