1881 East-West Road | Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

About the Series

Two Koreas, Shattered Lives

This series of films traces various faces of the enormous human cost extracted by the Korean War and the subsequent division of Korea for the past sixty years. These films, however, go beyond simply representing the pain in that they all show glimpses of hope in finding common ground and shared humanity. Audiences will be treated to various film genres and diverse topics, including fictional treatment of the Korean War, long-term political prisoners, Korean-Japanese political allegiance and its cost, and a North Korean defector’s encounter with South Korean society.


Film screenings take place in the Center for Korean Studies auditorium at 1881 East-West Road on the University of Hawai'i Mānoa campus and begin at 6:30 p.m. Korean films are shown with English subtitles.

This series is free and open to all University of Hawai'i students, faculty, and staff and to the community at large. The series is supported by the Timothy and Miriam Wee Memorial Fund at the Center for Korean Studies.

For further information about the film series, contact the Center for Korean Studies at (808) 956-7041 or Professor Young-a Park (yapark@hawaii.edu) at (808) 956-6387.

Fall 2013 Film Series: Two Koreas, Shattered Lives

September 17

Welcome to Dongmakgol  웰컴투 동막골

2005. Directed by Park Kwang-hyun. 133 minutes.

photo: Welcome to Dongmakgol still


Soldiers from North and South Korea converge on the small village of Dongmakgol in 1950, finding that the villagers have no knowledge of the ongoing Korean War. Overcoming their mutual distrust, the two sides work together to help the villagers through the winter and save them from destruction during the war. Welcome to Dongmakgol dominated Korean cinema in 2005, winning Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at the Korean Film Awards.

October 1

Repatriation  송환

2003. Directed by Kim Dong-won. 148 minutes.

Photo: still from Repatriation


In this documentary, the first Korean film to win an award at the Sundance Film Festival, director Kim Dong-won follows a group of political prisoners in South Korea who swear allegiance to the North. Following a thirty-year prison sentence, many of them move to Kim's neighborhood, where Kim establishes a close friendship with one. These former long-term prisoners maintain their loyalty to the North, however, and Kim documents their quest for repatriation. In 2004, Korean film critics picked Repatriation as the number one Korean film of the preceding decade.

October 15

Dear Pyongyang  디어 평양

2005. Directed by Yang Yong-hi. 107 minutes.

image from Dear Pyongyang


This documentary follows the family of Yang Yong-hi, whose father leads a pro-North movement in Japan. Yang remains with her father after he sends his sons to the North as part of a repatriation program. Through conversations with her father and visits to Pyongyang, she documents how economic setbacks leave the sons increasingly reliant on aid from relatives, and discusses other consequences of separating the family. Dear Pyongyang was a winner of Sundance's Special Jury Prize and won a Nedpac Award from at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2006.

November 5

Over the Border  국경의 남쪽

2006. Directed by Ahn Pan-suk. 109 minutes.


image from Over the Border


Sun-ho is soon to be married and holds a privileged slot as a horn player in the North Korean state propaganda troupe, but his life comes unraveled when his family receives letters from Sun-ho's grandfather in Seoul. This correspondence endangers their lives, forcing them to leave their comfortable positions and escape to the unfamiliar South. Over the Border features award-winning Korean Wave star Cha Seung-won as Sun-ho.

November 19

The Journals of Musan  무산일기

2011. Directed by Park Jung-bum. 127 minutes.


photo from The Journals of Musan


North Korean defector Seung-chul struggles with a low-paying job and few friends in the South. His life changes suddenly when his roommate, a broker sending money to the families of other defectors, asks for his help. The broker has been conned by his uncle, who had been helping funnel defectors' money into the North, and now he needs Seung-chul's help to recover the lost funds. Winner of multiple awards at film festivals across Asia, Park's direction was also honored at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2011.