Koryo Tours gets a lot of mentions here on the site. And with good reason. Nick Bonner and the guys run a slick outfit offering tours to North Korea, but most meaningfully for me they have had a hand in some of the best documentaries about North Korea as well bringing attention to the DPRK’s own cinematic output.
I’ve knew Nick Bonner during my time in Beijing and had long heard of his dream of filming a rom-com in North Korea with an entirely North Korean cast. So I was especially pleased when a long-time follower of the site forwarded me this New York Times article about the imminent release of the film Comrade Kim Goes Flying.
The film is due to get a premier at the Pyongyang International Film Festival and we’ll keep an eye out for it turning up on DVD, too.
The good folks at Koryo Tours are hosting the China premier of an Austrian produced documentary “Hana, dul, sed”. If you’re into a more factual look at the workings of North Korea head along to the Bookworm in Beijing (details below) on Tuesday 27th March at 7.30pm. The director will be along afterwards for a Q&A.
Here’s the blurb they sent out:
Join us for the China premiere of Hana, dul, sed … A documentary by Austrian filmmaker Brigitte Weich which gives us a subtle glimpse of the workings of Pyongyang society and the way ideology functions in its citizens’ work and personal lives.
It is a film about four young women, their friendship, dreams, hopes, and the passion for football they share. Being a member of the women’s national team is not only a way to make a living but gives the players prestige, popularity, and certain privileges, like larger food rations. To Ri Jong Hi, Ra Mi Ae, Jin Pyol Hi, and Ri Hyang Ok, however, football is not about fame or fortune but hope. “What is beautiful about soccer,” says one, “is that when you run onto the pitch, it’s like your heart opens up wide, like you could take on the world.”
The film screening (98 mins) will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director.
Place: The Bookworm
Tel: (010) 6586 9507
Date: Tuesday 27th March
Cost: RMB 20 for members, RMB 30 for non-members (includes a free drink)
It’s been an incredibly busy year for North Korea politically. And as December saw the death of leader Kim Jong Il, few (and by few, I really mean me) were recalling that this time last year saw the first screening on North Korean television of a Western movie. Of course, Russian, Chinese and other friendly communist countries have had films broadcast on sate TV before, but the appearance of Bend It Like Beckham (2002) on December 26, 2010 was an absolute first.
Earlier in 2011 I managed to get into contact with Peter Hughes (UK Ambassador to the DPRK from 2008-2011) and asked him how this event managed to be organised. After some delay – apparently there are things even more important than this website going on over there – he responding with the following article. You will also note the good people at Koryo Tours had a hand in getting it on TV and – despite what the media reported – not as much of the movie was edited out as was first claimed. Anyway, not strictly about North Korean films but you may find it interesting:
The fine folks at Koryo Tours have given us a bit of advanced notice about the Pyongyang International Film Festival 2012. Held every other year this is an event I’ve been dying to get to for a few years now and I think I’m definitely going to have to make it next year.
It’ll be a great chance to not only see some of the best North Korean films of recent years but also a chance for North Koreans to experience some Western releases.
If you’re interested in attending yourself, follow the information below and keep checking Koryo’s website for further information as it arrives.