Paju (Hangul: 파주; RR: Paju) is a 2009 South Korean film. It tells the tale of a teenage schoolgirl (Seo Woo) and her complex relationship to her older sister’s husband (Lee Sun-kyun). Set in the city where it takes its name from – a longtime military area and now a developing city located close to the North/South Korean border – its elegant and well-constructed narrative deals with guilt, mystery, love and redemption, as well as the psychological layers of its characters. The film also offers a vivid glimpse into Korean society and the struggles some residents of Paju face. The result is both uniquely Korean and universally resonant.
In 2010 Paju became the first ever Korean film to open the International Film Festival Rotterdam and to compete at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Twenty-something Eun-mo listens to a taxi driver drone on as she rides down a foggy highway. The story then cycles back eight years earlier, when a lustful Joong-shik accidentally causes a woman to neglect her baby with disastrous consequences. Suffering from guilt, Joong-shik goes on the lam and holes up in the titular city of Paju, an underdeveloped and desolate city just north of Seoul and near the North Korean border. Teaching religious classes to the town's schoolgirls, Joong-shik captures the heart of local house owner Eun-soo, despite the protestations of her pubescent younger sister and Joong-shik's student Eun-mo.