Kim Jong-Il (1941-2011) probably did more than anyone to advance the North Korean film industry. Take from that what you will.
Another interesting tidbit emerged in the torrent of news surrounding the death of Kim Jong-Il: Dr. Francois-Xavier Roux, French neurosurgeon who treated Kim Jong Il in 2008 after his stroke, reported having very routine discussions with Kim in an interview with the AP.
I think he was profoundly Francophile. Maybe it’s no accident that they chose a French medical team. Obviously he wanted to establish political ties with France. He was not hiding it. He also knew French cinema very well. I was pretty surprised. He knew French wines pretty well. We were talking about the differences between Bourgogne and Bordeaux, etc. So yes, we had normal discussions.
A quick note about the above photo, a description of which I found on a news agencies website:
In this March 1979 photo from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, distributed by Korea News Service, leader Kim Jong Il gives advice at the shooting of “An Jung-gun Shoots Ito Hirobumi,” a narrative film.