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Friday, 30 April 2010

North Korean Film Madness

The Vice Guide to Film focuses on North Korea this time in a sister documentary to The Vice Guide To North Korea that was on last year.

North Korea is pretty messed up, and it's probably the last 'great' dicatatorship/communist nation left. The whole country appears to be a series of shrines and museums to the great leader/the great general Kim Jong Il.

It turns out that King Jong Il (like Hitler) is a massive movie buff and enthusiast and has one of largest film collections in the world, build several private cinemas for himself and has directed (and worked more-or-less every other job) on many North Korean movies. He also wrote a book about cinema 'On The Art of Cinema'. And North Korean's believe he created the technique of filming movies with more than one camera! The problem is getting to look at these movies and most of North Korea itself proves to be very difficult. As the documentary shows, you can go nowhere or see anything without permission, several guides, secret police and most importantly paying respects to 'The Great Leader' and playing along with their propaganda games.

Then when they do let you see anything, the country appears to be nothing more than a farce, a show of grandeur thats is a front for very little. But the lengths the country has gone to show this desired image and succumb to the weird wills of a madman are remarkable, if not for their scale (40 story hotels with only one working floor, several thousand kids performing a show for 10 people in one of the worlds biggest stadiums and film sets where they build 50 houses just to burn them down) but also for what must be a tragic contradiction to the lives of most people living in North Korea.

For the reasons mentioned there is actually very little on film in this show, but the small window into the bizarre and closed world of North Korea is revealing, ridiculous and extraordinary.

In part three where the the two guides get confused over the statistics of how many films King Jong Il is credited with, you can almost see the madness of the shell like front of the North Korean film industry and the projected image of the country come crashing down...a blunder like this will no doubt end with one of these guides 'going missing'.

Watch the whole show at VBS.TV and check out the Vice Guide to North Korea too.

(this film looked good though)

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