Unfortunate Brothers

Korea's Reunification Dilemma


"Even though I live in South Korea, my heart is in North Korea. The [North Koreans] are not strangers, but my brethren." These words spoken by Mr. Lee, the film's main character, reveal an internal conflict in the national psyche of the Korean people. Since the armistice agreement at the end of the Korean War in 1953, tensions between the two nations--still technically at war--have shown little sign of abating. In their sixty years apart, the two Koreas have taken dramatically different paths. South Korea has experienced an economic and cultural explosion that has elevated its status among the top tier of the world's industrialized nations. North Korea, on the other hand, has struggled economically, and its ultra-nationalistic goals have left it isolated and at odds with the western world and the international community. Reunification of the Koreas is a complicated issue, not only for the North and South, but for China, Japan, and the United States as well. While all parties involved express a general desire for reunification, the dynamics of such an event have kept it far beyond reach. Changing opinions in South Korea, a generation gap, North Korean nuclear ambitions, and security concerns from the U.S, China and Japan all hinder potential reunification.

Shot over the course of three years, Unfortunate Brothers: Korea's Reunification Dilemma seeks to explore these issues by following Mr. Lee, a North Korean defector trying to adjust to life in his newly adopted South Korean homeland. Through Mr. Lee's intensely personal account of his journey from North Korea, as well as expert interviews, the film tries to unravel the riddle of Korean unification and promote deeper understanding of two countries many of us know little about.

The Beyond the Border series is a collection of documentary films covering conflict, geography, politics, history and current affairs. Produced by Combat Films & Research for the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University, the series examines events, trends and stories from around the world with an emphasis on international relations.


Included in the Special Edition DVD is our award-winning short film,
Balloon Man (see below), along with other extras.

Balloon Man

Featured Short:

Mr. Lee is a North Korean defector trying to adjust to life in his newly adopted South Korean homeland. He yearns to help those in the north which he left behind and finds an unusual way to do so.

Balloon Man is included on the Unfortunate Brothers DVD.


Combat Films & Research is a production company that has shot and produced international stories. We have expanded to  also shoot everything between commercial, corporate and educational.



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