The Journals of Musan
Director: Park Jung-bum
Cast: Park Jung-Bum, Jin Younguk, Kang Eujin, Park Youngdeok
Cert 15, 127 mins, 2011
Distributed by Finecut
Seong-chul rents a room with his friend Kyung-chul. Both are defectors from North Korea. While Kyung-chul is full of ambition and money-making schemes, honest Seong-chul struggles to hold down any job, even at the karaoke bar where the girl he has an eye on in church works. Befriending a stray dog – the metaphor is all too clear – life begins to look up when he hits rock bottom. After confessing his whole story at a prayer meeting, the girl from church takes pity on him. But how long will his luck last?
What’s worse than living in North Korea? Living in South Korea as a defector, suggests Park Jungbum’s eye-opening debut. Park not only directs but also stars as Seong-chul, his own real-life friend who died a few years after making it to Seoul. Relentless and Bressonian, this extraordinary film lifted the lid on a reality that few South Koreans knew about before.