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Best New Narrative Director Award

North American Premiere

(none) | 127 MINUTES | Korean |


The 2011 winner is The Journals of Musan.

Park Jungbum's stunning and much-lauded debut is the story of Jeon Seung-chul, a North Korean defector forging a life in capitalist South Korea. Emerging from eight months in a resettlement camp, the unassuming Seung-chul is placed in a home on the rundown outskirts of Seoul, and finds a modest job papering the city with advertisement posters. Yearning for a human bond, he joins a church and meets Sook-young, a choir singer who works nights at a seedy karaoke bar. As he attempts to forge some kind of relationship with Sook-young and some kind of life in Seoul, Seung-chul finds his deepest kinship and comfort in a fellow outcast—a stray dog he adopts in the street.

Marginalized in every way, from his liminal home on the city's fringes to his frustrated attempts to integrate in either church or work, Seung-chul's unwavering moral compass is testament to his integrity in the face of baseless prejudice. As both director and actor, Park (assistant director of Lee Chang-dong's stirring Poetry) fully realizes a disarmingly beautiful vision of loneliness, disconnect, and ethical ambiguity in this story of a lost soul's struggle to connect.