Posted by Tristan on:
A beautiful and stark look at the human rights atrocities of North Korea
Who should see this film:
Anyone with interest in human rights, social justice, Asian history, political science or propaganda.
Inspired by Kang Choel Hwan’s autobiography of The Aquariums of Pyongyang, director N.C. Heikin created a visually pleasing but stark documentary of the lives of North Korean defectors. Throughout the film Heikin juxtaposes the horrific stories of living in - and escaping from - the oppressive state, with the beautiful Kim Il Sung era propaganda posters, North Korean film/TV and performances, as well as western modern dance. The use of North Korea’s own media provides a striking contrast between what the state disseminates and reality.
Each refugee describes coming to terms with that discrepancy and how he or she decided to escape. Some inspired to flee by such things as western music, or the Count of Montè Cristo, illustrate that the largest threat to the dictatorship is education about the outside world. Others left out of necessity, only to find hardship in China before making it to Seoul, Mongolia or other countries that wouldn’t repatriate them. The documentary includes actual footage of an underground group attempting to smuggle North Koreans out of China.
It is hard for us in the free world to imagine a place where a 'god king' rules and children think it is normal to grow up laboring in prison camps. Kimjongilia brings this tragedy to light in a beautiful and captivating way.
Kimjongilia is a nominee for this years Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award for Documentary Film. You can also learn more about the North Korean situation and ways to help from Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) at their website.