The award-winning Korean-French co-production Dooman River gives an insight into the daily life of a Chinese community along the Dooman river. Twelve-year-old Chang-ho becomes friend with a North-Korean boy of the same age who regularly crosses the river to get food in China for his mute sister.
The Chinese authorities claim that more than 400,000 North Koreans in pursuit of happiness have already crossed the river, which is frozen most of the year. Weak ice and heavily armed soldiers patrolling at the North-Korean riverbank make the crossing a highly dangerous undertaking.
In Dooman River we see how a Chinese village along the Dooman river is transformed by the stream of refugees and the trade that goes with it. We get to know Chang-ho, his grandfather and his sister. While they are penniless, they help Chang-ho’s North-Korean friend, who goes to China in search of food for his mute sister. The resentment towards the Koreans grows as the village people are hit by a series of misfortunes. Loudspeakers blare that Chinese people having contact with the Koreans will be punished. The boys’ allegiance is put to the test.