Two New DPRK Features

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.

Source: Rodong Sinmun

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.

Source: Rodong Sinmun

Screenwriter: Ui Ung Yong

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.

Source: http://www.rodong.rep.kp/InterEn/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2011-12-07-0047&chAction=S

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!

Kim Jong Il and the Development of Cinema Art

 As reported on the North Korea Tech blog, Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea and North Korea’s main national daily, launched an English-language website over the last couple of days with quite a large amount of content.

It’s not been up and running for long but I decided to take glance to see if there were any articles on the subject of cinema that had made their way online and low and hehold, a journalist by the name of Han Chung Hyok had produced a little elegy about the Kim Jong Il’s influence on North Korea’s cinema.  The full article is reproduced below, but it’s interesting to note that in 2011 he provided “on the spot guidance” for a film called Wishes that premiered in Pyongyang in December. The site also has an article on that film, here.

Kim Jong Il and the Development of Cinema Art

Cinema artists of the Korean Film Studio miss leader Kim Jong Il ever so much. All the more so now that he passed away.

Their unforgettable memories date back to 1965 when the feature film “The Path to Awakening” was in the making under his guidance. Those were the days when Korean cinema artists were trained to remain always true to the Workers’ Party and to the idea of Juche.

For nearly half a century since then, busy as he was with the Party and state affairs, he gave energetic guidance to the development of Korean cinema art.

Under his loving care many famous cinema artists including movie stars were produced.

Among them are Choe Chang Su, labor hero and People’s Actor, Kim Ryong Rin, winner of Kim Il Sung Prize and People’s Actor, and Hong Yong Hui[star of The Flower Girl], People’s Actress.

They all recalled in deep emotion that leader Kim Jong Il would come to the film studio in the morning or in the evening and sometimes deep at night and at the small hours of the morning, discussing on the scenario and guiding actors and actresses how to do their part perfectly.

They also remembered the days when under his energetic guidance they produced the multi-part serial “Star of Korea” in the 1970s and 1980s, and the multi-part serial “The Nation and Destiny” and such masterpieces as “A Schoolgirl’s Diary” and “Pyongyang Nalpharam” in the 1990s and 2000s.

In 2011, he guided production of the feature film “Wish.” He gave the core for the scenario, personally picked up leading actors and actresses, thus bringing this film to perfection. It was the last feature film put out under his personal guidance.

The studio has produced more than 900 movies from 1965 to 2011. But the studio has not yet produced any piece portraying leader Kim Jong Il. They all feel sorry and guilty. Now they are all out to produce new masterpieces.

Han Chung Hyok

Source: http://www.rodong.rep.kp/InterEn/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2011-12-16-0042&chAction=S

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: The Flower Girl

It’s difficult to over emphasize the importance of The Flower Girl (1972) in the history of North Korean cinema… and possibly even harder to find an analogous example in another country’s movie cannon. The US may have iconoclastic Citizen Kane (1941) and China the psycho-sexual drama Spring in a Small Town (1948) but there is a reverence paid to The Flower Girl that makes it far more than just the “greatest” film ever produced in the country.

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North Korea’s Cinema of Dreams

Filmmakers Lynn Lee and James Leong of Lianain Films gained unprecedented access to the Pyongyang’s main film academy for an exceptionally well observed documentary piece.

It’s fascinating to see filmmakers battling with constant power cuts and also a group of obviously privileged students living in comfort in Pyongyang addicted to their mobile phones.

The 30-minute short appeared on Al Jazeera English in February but a feature-length project The Great North Korean Picture Show is scheduled to be released in the near future.