Watch Birthplace Unknown and many more documentaries!

  • Subscribe to our catalogue of 600+ documentaries
  • The first month for €1.49
  • No strings attached. Cancel online at anytime
  • We share the revenu directly with the documentary makers
Learn more about DocsOnline

Birthplace Unknown by Junger, Karin

What happens if a 19-year-old girl, who was adopted at the age of four, decides to visit her native country to find out about her true identity? In Birthplace Unknown, acclaimed Dutch director Karin Junger follows her two adopted half-sisters as they return to Korea on an exhilarating, and at times painful, search for their personal histories. Birthplace Unknown beautifully portrays the challenges that adopted children are presented at adolesence.

Soon after the film?s success at IDFA and subsequent theatrical release, questions arose about Jungers ethics. Because she had researched her film thoroughly, she knew in advance what her sisters would encounter on their trip but did not share this information with them. Only after the films release did they learn about Jungers advance knowledge. The sisters expressed feelings of betrayal, and stories unfavorable to Junger appeared in the Dutch media.

Human Interest
Each year tens of thousands of young children leave their native countries for adoption in foreign lands and cultures. Although most of these children grow up happy and have much better prospects, stories often surface in the media of adopted adolescents who lose their way. Research (link) has further shown that adopted adolescents are more likely to need mental health treatment. While most adolescents have questions about purpose, meaning, and their place in the world, adoptees seem to be affected more profoundly by these issues.

Joris Ivens award 1988
Birthplace Unknown won the Joris Ivens award at IDFA in 1988, which is one of the most treasured awards for documentary films.

Technical note
We apologise for the inferior quality of the stream. Originally shot on 35mm film, we encoded Birthplace Unkown from an old Umatic SP tape because all other formats had been lost. In 2007 we'll encode the Original 35mm version.

Junger, Karin
Copyright Holder
42 min.
Year of release
Country of production

More Documentaries

  • 70 min.

    Girls to mothers

    Jaugey, Florence, 2006

    In 'Girls to Mothers' Florence Jaugey provides the audience with a glimpse into the lives of Kenia, Blanca and Viviana, three teenage mothers from Nicaragua.

    Watch documentary
  • 50 min.

    A love apart

    Haassen, Bettina, 2008

    In a few days, teenager Rhaissa, a nomadic Tuareg from Niger, will marry a man she has never met. After the wedding, everything will change.

    Watch documentary
  • 59 min.

    The Bitter Taste of a Miracle Drug

    Mercurio, Stephane, 2002

    "The Bitter Taste of a Miracle Drug" tells the story of the back story of the fertility drug DES, and its serious side effects.

    Watch documentary
  • 40 min.

    Isingiro Hospital

    Molenaar, Hillie & Wijk, Joop van, 1992

    Set in North West Tanzania Isingiro Hospital is a subdued tale about fate and the daily struggle for survival. Its central character is Jessica, a 15 year old girl who has been raped, made pregnant and infected with AIDS.

    Watch documentary
  • 29 min.


    Meijer, Menna Laura, 2005

    Angele, Sheena and Soraya are three sixteen-year old girlfriends who discuss what's most on their minds: boys, love, music and sex. 'Boys' is a hip and stylish documentary short that deals with the universal theme of puberty.

    Watch documentary
  • 61 min.

    The day you love me

    Jaugey, Florence, 1999

    A candid observation of domestic abuse and machismo in Nicaragua's capital Managua, The day you love me follows the daily procedures of the Police Commissary for women and children.

    Watch documentary
  • 49 min.

    Congo files

    Alonso, Julio, 2009

    Congo files shows the current situation of Congo citizens, specifically focused on the conflicts that took place in the region of North-Kivu in the first decade of the 21st century.

    Watch documentary
  • 60 min.

    Cambodia: The Virginity Trade

    Watson, Matthew, 2009

    Cambodia: The Virginity Trade is a compelling and alarming account of the lives of girls and women affected by the virginity trade and sex industry present in Cambodia.

    Watch documentary
Close Login