7.0/10
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2 user 21 critic

The Journals of Musan (2010)

Musanilgi (original title)
Jeon Seungchul's citizen registration number brands him as a North Korean defector. It is difficult to find a good job and it's hard to get along with people at church. He is not an ... See full summary »

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8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Jeon Seungchul
Yonguk Jin ...
Kyung-Chul
Eunjin Kang ...
Young-Sook
Youngdeok Park ...
Detective Park
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jin-won Seo ...
Flyer President
Si-Heub Sung ...
Believer 2
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Storyline

Jeon Seungchul's citizen registration number brands him as a North Korean defector. It is difficult to find a good job and it's hard to get along with people at church. He is not an ex-convict or a migrant worker, but he is subjected to many discriminations. Like the stray dog he looks after, Jeon Seungchul is a misfit in South Korea's capitalist society. Written by anonymous

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14 April 2011 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Musanski dnevnici  »

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16:9 HD
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Quotes

Jeon Seungchul: I am a North Korean defector. I was born in Musan, North Hamgyong province. There was nothing to eat. I was so hungry that I had a fight. I hit on and on and found my friend down. I came home with corn. The next day, I was passing the same way and that friend was still lying there. And the next day, and the day after... I killed a man.
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User Reviews

 
Technically well done. Could be moving, but story leaves open ends
6 February 2011 | by (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Regardless of everyone's praises for this film, I don't see it. The main character is a candidate for our pity, having a stigma from his past. Everyone there recognizes his background easily from his social security number, starting with 125, and thus every job interview is doomed to failure.

All of this could be very moving, but the sheer laziness and the stubbornness of the main character ticks me off, as is his lack of thankfulness to people that try to help him through this unfriendly world. In other words, he often bites the hands that feed him. Of course, this might be as designed by the film makers. I may just have missed the point.

My main objection is that the story line wanders around some halfway explored issues, like the money that was sent but never arrived, their repeated plans to move to the US, and much other meandering that leads nowhere. For the average viewer, like me, this deserves a better explanation. It should not be left open, now being only understandable for those who already know what's going on in that part of the world.

Another thing I'm still wondering about is his story about a wounded fellow soldier he had to leave behind. We hear this halfway the movie, when he sits in a group and is asked to tell something about himself. I am unsure whether he invented that story on the spot, or that it truly happened. Anyway, it has a link with one of the final scenes, where he finds his dog fatally wounded on the street. He blocks the traffic for a long time while deciding to leave it behind too.

All in all, technically well executed, but the story line could be brought clearer and should not leave us with so many open ends.


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