Duk-soo and his family are fleeing for their lives. At Hungman Port they join other refugees who are trying to board a ship at the beginning of the Korean War and so escape from the north of the country to the south. When twelve-year-old Duk-soo loses his little sister during their flight, his father decides to stay behind to look for her. From now on the responsibility for the rest of the family rests on Duk-soo’s slender shoulders. The family settles in Busan where he manages to keep them afloat by dint of strenuous physical labour. Later on, he travels to Germany to work as a coal miner; he also meets his first love in this country. And yet, his whole life long, Duk-soo is haunted by one desire: to reunite his family. JK Youn follows Duk-soo’s fate over a period of sixty years; his story is as chequered as that of his country’s recent history. The film enables us to sense such hitherto unaddressed topics as discrimination against North Korean refugees, or South Korea’s relentless belief in, and pursuit of progress during the country’s years of economic development. But above all this epic story represents a young director’s bid to explore the concerns of his father’s generation.
by JK Youn
with Hwang Jung-min, Kim Yunjin, Oh Dal-su, Jung Jin-young, Jang Young-nam, Ra Mi-ran, Kim Seul-ki
South Korea 2014