Synopsis by Josh Ralske
The Road Taken tells the true story of Kim Sun-myung (Kim Joong-ki), a communist imprisoned for decades in South Korea and who refused to recant his beliefs, despite torture and deprivation. Kim began serving his life sentence in 1953. The film picks up his story in the early '70s, when he is put into a cell with his comrades, who include the older, resolute Ahn (Choi Il-hwa). The men form bonds and communicate news and gossip amongst each other by tapping out Morse code on the cell wall, but they're routinely moved around in a seemingly arbitrary fashion to increase their emotional distress. Oh Tae-shik (Ahn Suk-hwan), who runs the prison, has criminal convicts beat and torture the political prisoners in an effort to get them to "convert," signing a confession and disavowing Communism forever. Occasionally, a prisoner dies from these beatings, and it's made to look like suicide. One prisoner, Choi (Goh Dong-eub) receives letters from his daughter chastising him for his beliefs and blaming him for her humiliation in the community. Another, Master Lee (Kim Jong-chul) is greatly respected by Kim, but he finds himself in danger when he's put in a cell with other prisoners who suspect him of being a traitor. The prisoners rely on each other for comfort and friendship, and to support each other's resolve. Eventually, Officer Oh decides to put Kim in solitary confinement, and to separate the political prisoners' cells so that they can't contact each other through the walls. Through it all, Kim holds onto his dream of reunification. The Road Taken was directed by Hong Gi-Seon and was shown at Subway Cinema's 2004 New York Asian Film Festival.