A reader of the site has forwarded me a film that I’ve not heard of before, and giving we could all do with a little light relief at the moment, I am very excited to watch the below romantic-comedy from North Korea.
No English subtitles but let me know what you think! Hopefully I will get around to adding it to the database soon…
I have managed to get hold of four North Korean movie posters – and even have the names of the movies in English – but I am unable to find out any details of these movies.
Given the wide-range of DPRK/Korea-speaking/film legends I have occasionally commenting on this humble blog, would anyone be able to point to any resources about when these movies are about?
It may well be that these movies have been given different English titles, or that details on them can be found by searching their Korean names? Any details would be greatly appreciated in this case. Just leave a comment or email email@example.com if you can help with the hunt!
Here are a few of my favourite quotes as I (not for the first time) flick through Kim Jong-Il’s seminal tome on how to make a film (in North Korea).
“A film without music is incomplete.”
“In a wide-screen film, it is better to shoot long scenes which match the flow of life and to prolong the effective emotional content by means of efficient editing based on the unrestricted movement of the camera.”
“Make-up in a noble art.”
“Success in acting must be assured by persistent effort.”
I know I promised the mother-lode but I’m afraid it’s just going to have to be another taste. Here’s the first part (there are three in total) of a DPRK documentary about Kim Jong-Il’s efforts as a producer in North Korea.
Fascinating because: you see interviews with actors, some great pictures I’d not seen before and, best of all, it’s in English.
I dug out some footage from Chinese broadcaster CCTV of the Pyongyang International Film Festival that is going on at the moment.
I am sick as a dog not to be there – alas my application to enter a film into the festival was not accepted… in fact I just never heard back after a long period of time getting things together for the application. Oh well, perhaps I can go in two years time.
The member of the audience speaking is Korean and his soundbite translates as:
“It’s my first time to take part in the film festival. I am so excited. I think Chinese movies are the best.”
Johannes Schönherr dropped me a line the other day to highlight an interview he conducted with Masao Kobayashi, the producer of Somi – the Taekwon-do Woman.
Always good to hear from the man as he highlights another little insight into making movies in the DPRK. You might remember us speaking previously about a potential screening of the DPRK-Japan co-production in London in an earlier post. If you are interested in seeing the film, please contribute!
A little down the line I hope to have a review of Johannes Schönherr’s book on North Korea cinema which has now officially been released. Grab your copy here.
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 Rodong Sinmun’s English website has given a brief glimpse of two new features that have been produced (presumably, but who knows) this year in North Korea.
The first is “Wishes”
The Korean Film Studio recently produced feature film “Wishes”.
The film is based on the solo play “Wishes” which was highly appreciated at the second-term fourth contest of art squads of servicepersons’ families of the Korean People’s Army. It has a great significance in cognitive education.
A preview of the film took place at the People’s Palace of Culture on December 15.
It was enjoyed by Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim and other senior party and state officials, officials of the armed forces bodies, ministries and national institutions, and creators, artistes, journalists and editors in the fields of culture and art and mass media and officials in Pyongyang.
It is based on a true life story of servicepersons who took part in the construction of the Huichon Power Station and their families. It gives ideological and artistic portrayal of the greatest wishes of the Korean people who uphold leader Kim Jong Il as the father of a big family. It also tells how to live and work to have those wishes come true.
It impressively shows the unanimous desire of all the people of the country to have pictures taken with Kim Jong Il to keep them as their eternal family photographs.
The second is “Little Girl Presenting Wild Flowers”:
Korean feature film “Little Girl Presenting Wild Flowers” was produced.
The film is based on the true story about a little girl who deeply impressed leader Kim Jong Il as she placed a bunch of wild flowers with best wishes before the monument to on-the-spot guidance in June 1996, missing President Kim Il Sung very much.
Heroine Jong Hui devoted herself to training from the very day she joined the Korean People’s Army, bearing deep in mind the great loving care Kim Jong Il showed for her by praising her deed in her childhood and made her known to the whole country as “a little girl presenting wild flowers.”
Through the portrayal of the genuine and simple soldier standing firm guard over her post, always bearing deep in mind the honor of pleasing Kim Jong Il, the film impressively tells where the worth of living of the soldiers in the Songun era is.
A Korean feature film “Two Families in Haeun-dong” produced in 1996 and the other “Myself in the Distant Future” in 1997 gave deep emotions to the Korean people.
The former shows that one can only enjoy happiness in family when he devotes everything for the country and people, not for only his family. And the latter deals with the issue what valuable wealth younger generation should create for the country.
It gained a gold torch light prize at the 6th Pyongyang International Film Festival for its high ideological and artistic value.
The two scenarios were created by Ui Ung Yong in his early 30s.
He, who was specially interested in literature in his childhood, wrote his first scenario “Days at University” when he worked at an institute in local area as an assistant.
His first work won the prize at a contest for its good theme and value in education. This led him to a professional scenario writer.
He has persistently strived to work out scenarios dealing with issues urgently requested in public, to give answers with plain but meaningful stories.
He has become a Kim Il Sung Prize winner at 33 for creating excellent works reflecting the requirement of the era and the revolution. He has made persistent efforts to create many good works such as “People in Jagang Province” (Part 1 and 2), “Firelight”, “Fraternal Feeling”, “Wave of Songgang” (Part 1 and 2) and “Let People Appreciate You” in a bid to repay for the trust and hope of the Party.
Another feature film written by him will soon be on screen to make a hit.
As the Rodong Sinum continues to put up articles of a film-related nature, I will try and dig them up and post them here. I’ve not come across any of this guy’s films, but it’s possible that their English translation of the titles is different to what I have.
*Note: Gag Halfrunt pointed out, quite rightly, that one of the films referenced is Myself in the Distant Future”. Good work!
I’ve been apprehensive about posting this video for quite some time. Not that I have lofty ideals for this site which I think might be compromised if I posted a link to the acerbic Vice, but more because I feel a little intimidated by what the bunch of slackers managed to achieve with the short documentary. Continue reading →