Joong-wha Choi, a former soldier in North Korea, lives today with his wife and children in a sleepy London suburb, home to Europe’s biggest North Korean population. Despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, he has a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, and feels like his true home. Joong-wha reflects on both why he left North Korea and the state of his day to day life over the course of several months, in a portrait of loss, longing, and the complexities of healing from trauma.
Joong-wha’s story extends to other refugees in the community he lives alongside, and with exclusive access to one of the world’s largest community on North Korean defectors, this stylised documentary brings an original and unique take to the experiences of refugees, and the human rights crisis in North Korea. At a time when the world is wrapped up in the exchanges of pomp and bravado between two theatrical but powerful world leaders, we recognise the North Korean defectors who live right here.
Directed by: Roxy Rezvany
Produced by: Roxy Rezvany, Matt Diegan and Aya Kaido
Director of photography: Beatriz Sastre
Editor: Christian Sandino-Taylor
Executive producers for the Guardian: Charlie Phillips and Lindsay Poulton
Commissioned by the Guardian and Docsville