Hello, Stranger

Section: World Cinema
Directed by: Kim Dong-Hyun

Chereum mannan saramdeul
South Korea, 2007

Dir.: Kim Dong-Hyun
Scr.: Kim Dong-Hyun
Phot.: Oh Jeong-Ok
Editor: Lee Do-Hyun
Cast: Park In-Soo, Choi Hee-Jin, Quang Su, Bang Young, Jin Yong-Wook, Kim Song-Il, Woo Don-Gi
Format: 35 mm
112 mins

How to find your way in a suburb of the mega-city of Seoul, that is just one of the things this North Korean refugee hasn’t learnt on his citizenship course. He gets lost as soon as he is on his own. At least he speaks Korean.

For more than 50 years, North and South Korea have gone their separate ways. A broad demilitarised zone cuts across the country and it is not easy to get out of North Korea. But some do manage. Jin-Wook is such a North Korean refugee who has passed the citizenship course at the refugee centre. He finds himself in a bare apartment in an outer suburb of Seoul with rows of apartment blocks all looking the same. On his first evening there, he goes to buy a blanket in the megastore. He is so stunned by what he sees that he can't find his way back to his apartment. Jin-Wook ends up in the car of the female taxi-driver Hae-Jung, who had managed to flee the North 10 years before. Together they drive through the night in the hope that Jin-Wook will recognize his apartment block. A few days later, when Jin-Wook is on his way to refugee friends who now live in Pusan, in the bus he meets an illegal Vietnamese, Tingwoon. He's looking for his girlfriend, who was sent to Korea to marry a Korean husband. The handicapped leading the blind.

After A Shark, an absurdist story about a rotting shark in a heatwave, Kim Dong-Hyun surprises us with this humane, touching wintery tale set in the parallel universe of the uprooted - that can be found in Korea in this case.

See also:
Half Moon Kek
Las Cruces One Night in One City
Our Time Pao's Story
The Pope’s Toilet Stop Revolution
The Swallows Have Arrived Those Three
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