Not-so-nice North Korea: Part 1

May 3, 2012 | By

'I wonder what would happen if I press the blue button instead of the red one…'

This post sort of got lost in the shuffle of the past month, so here’s Part 1 of Not-so-nice North Korea, a series that’ll focus on documentaries and available films from / about the hermit kingdom / wackyland where at present nuclear warheads are controlled by a 29 year old destined to develop the same bad hair as his father.

The first film in this series is Patty Kim and Chris Sheridan’s superb documentary Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story [M] (2006), one of the most dramatic docs I’ve ever seen. The story of an abducted Japanese teen by North Korean spies may be largely unknown in North America, but hat’s just a small piece of a larger story which unfolds like a gripping novel, except the tragedies and cruelties are horribly real. Absolutely devastating, and worth tracking down on DVD.

Related (in a more surreal way) is Pulgasari / aka Bulgasari [M] (1985), the North’s attempt to create grand propaganda via a Godzilla knock-off using Japanese designed special effects, and an actress & director kidnapped from South Korea. Not a good film, but a good bad one for its sheer weirdness – onscreen and behing-the-scenes. The film was released on VHS years ago but hasn’t popped up in a clean DVD, although there is a copy floating around in YouTube. Wonder if the North still give the film play on TV, or have buried it as a failed attempt to create commercial propaganda.

The next week will yield odd waves of updates as I uploaded DVD, soundtrack, and film festival reviews, but the Francophrenia capsule review will be up shortly, along with other stuff.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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