Review: Pyongyang Nalpharam

Museum curator: “Our traditional martial art was established as Thaekkyon in Ri Dynasty through Koryo’s. Regionally its practitioners were nicknamed differently. Eg, Chaebi and Jebi…”

Mr Ko: “… and those around Mount Taesong were called Pyongyang Nalpharam… “
I loved the feel of Pyongyang Nalpharam (2006), a film that was on my top 3 “must see” titles from North Korea. The opening scene, set in an impressive looking library, had all the elements that I love from this kind of kung fu movie: ancient texts, hidden forms of kung fu and details of long forgotten battles.

Review: Hong Kil Dong

Although not directed by him, or made while he was still resident in the country, Hong Kil Dong (1986) bears all the hallmarks of a Shin Sang-ok production. By that I mean this film, unlike practically every North Korea film production I have seen before Shin became active in the DPRK, does not place the emphasis on propaganda first and entertainment second. Watch the opening sequence of Hong Kil Dong below (you can actually watch the whole film on youtube) and you’ll see that it’s a film which is much more concerned (at least initially) with stylistic kung fu action than it is preaching a message.

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