The Journals of Musan

The Journals of Musan

The Journals of Musan is a 2011 South Korean film by Park Jung-bum, based on the experiences of Park's friend Jeon Seung-chul, a North Korean refugee he met while attending Yonsei University; Jeon was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died in 2008, less than 6 years after he defected to South Korea.


The film's protagonist is a North Korean refugee named Seung-chul struggling to adjust to life in Seoul. He is sharing a small apartment with a fellow defector named Kyung-chul, a "broker" who helps refugees send remittances to their families in North Korea (later in the film he angers several of his friends by allegedly cheating them and stealing their money). While both face difficult circumstances in recovering from trauma and adjusting to a new life, Seong-chul and Kyung-chol react to their situations quite differently. Seong-chul is extremely shy and submissive to authority. Throughout the film he's portrayed as a diligent worker, doing thankless tasks and accepting criticism stoically. Kyung-chul, by contest, has few moral scruples, attempting to steal a pair of pants and taunting Seong-chul.