Archive of films Repatriation / Song Hwan

South Korea
2003, 149 min

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Year: 2004

The film focuses on two former North Korean spies as they try to return to their homeland after spending thirty years in prison. A highly personal tribute to men who refused to surrender their political beliefs even after decades torture. 


In 1992 Kim Dong-won met two former political prisoners from North Korea who had been sentenced to thirty years as a result of espionage convictions in the south. “When I met them, I was both curious and afraid. When i began filming them I didn’t imagine I was making a film for the public,” the director confides. Fascinated by their remarkable lives, he spent a decade filming these still-devoted Communists in their endeavour to return home and to their lives. At the end of the nineties, relations between the DPRK and South Korea improved just enough to enable 60 prisoners, who had long refused to disavow their political convictions, to be released. How were these men able to survive thirty years of systematic torture? And how have they gotten along since regaining their freedom? This highly personal documentary fresco looks into these questions and many more besides.

About the director

Kim Dong-won graduated from Sogang University in mass communications. In the eighties he worked as an assistant director on commercial film projects, then switched over to documentaries at the end of the decade. Sangye-dong Olympics (1988) was screened at the Berlinale and at the Yamagata IDFF in Japan, as were the documentaries Standing on the Edge of Death (1990) and The 6 Day Struggle at Myong-Dong Cathedral (1997). Kim Dong-won was chairman of the Association of Korean Independent Filmmakers. He lectures at Korea’s National University of Arts. 


Indiestory Inc.
2FL Woosung Bldg., 70 Kyonggidae-ro, Seodaemun-gu, 03736, Seoul
Korea (Republic of)
Tel: +82 274 360 51, +82 274 360 53
Fax: +82 272 260 55
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm
European premiere

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Director: Kim Dong-won
Screenplay: Kim Dong-won
Dir. of Photography: Kim Tai-il, Jung Chang-young, Chang Young-kil, Oh Jung-hoon, Moon Jung-huyn
Music: Kim Dong-bum, Lee Ji-eun
Editor: Kim Dong-won
Producer: Kim Dong-won
Production: P.U.R.N. Production
Cast: Cho Chang-son, Kim Suk-hyung, Kim Sun-myung
Contact: Indiestory Inc.


Kim Dong-won


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