RIP Choi Eun-hee

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Woke up today to media reports that South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee had died.

More “notorious” for her time as a detainee at the pleasure of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il than her acting career, there are still a great number films in her cannon worth discovering.

“My Mother and Her Guest” (1961) is a beautiful and touching melodrama which is a perfect place to start for those looking to know more about Choi and director Shin Sang-ok.

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Country of Orchards (1972) – Stockholm Screening

Simon Fowler - North Korean Film Screening

The author wearing a newly purchased piece of Scandinavian knitwear.

What a huge honour it was to introduce the North Korean documentary “Country of Orchards” (1972) at the Swedish Film Institute.

A huge thank you to those who came out and watched the pristine 35mm print from the Swedish archives. I like to imagine what Swedish films were sent the other way and found their way into Kim Jong-Il’s personal collection…

I also found out the incredible story of the 1,000 Swedish Volvos that were sent to North Korea in the ’70s and were never paid for.

I guess they must have thought that a 35mm print of a documentary about agriculture was more than enough.

Potential Somi – the Taekwon-do Woman screening in London

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CORRECTION:

As was pointed out to me on twitter, these guys are actually searching for money to make this screening happen! If you want to see it, contribute!

Well it’s not often I get to highlight screenings of North Korean films here on the site and it’s even more rare that I get to do it in the city I live in:

The Zipangu Fest – which describes itself as UK’s independent Japanese film festival – is screening Somi – the Taekwon-do Woman (1997) – aka  Woman Warrior of Koryo – (on 35mm film!) at the Cinema Museum in Kennington, London on Friday September 14th 2012.

Regular readers will remember this is one of the films that DPRK film expert Johannes Schönherr mentioned in his interview back on the site a few weeks ago.

If you’re in London do not miss the opportunity to see this Japanese-DPRK co-production. More can be read about the project of bringing the film to the UK on the Crowd Funder page.