The Journals of Musan
Director: Park Jung-bum
Cast: Park Jung-Bum, Jin Younguk, Kang Eujin, Park Youngdeok
Cert 15, 127 mins, 2011
The Journals of Musan stars (and is written/directed by) Park Jung-bum as Seung-chul, a North Korean refugee who has defected to South Korea. He attempts to adjust to Seoul with a shy and submissive attitude. When Seung-chul is harassed by the authorities, he takes a new job at a karaoke bar to gain stability, an appropriate income, and less prejudice for being a defector. Seung- chul attends Mass every week in the hope that his spirituality will help him embrace his new surroundings.
The Journals of Musan is a precise character study in its detailed portrayal of alienation. But Park Jung-bum’s film also works as a broader exploration of the refugee experience; it illustrates the wide array of emotional adversity immigrants withstand: isolation, shame, hope, faith and even some humour.These are all on the spectrum of feelings that Seung-chul experiences and, we as an audience, experience with him.