INTERESTING FILMS WE FIND: North Korea

This is from the website mubi.com, a site that curates a fascinating collection of excellent films you may not have heard. Definitely worth checking out.

This film is an inside look at North Korea unlike anything filmed before. It is NOT a news style documentary. It simply follows the life of an ordinary Pyongyang family whose daughter was chosen to take part in one of the famous Korean “Spartakiads. Since it is not a doc or a drama or an action film, some people may find it boring. However, it is a real eyeopener if you want to understand the lives of the people living in North Korea under the rule of Kim Jong-il. The film festival curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City chose not to screen Under the Sun, fearing the possibility of a cyber-attack by North Korean hackers

From the LA Times:

“Under the Sun”, a feature-length documentary shot in North Korea, is a behind-the-scenes look at a poor country that casts itself as an abundant paradise, and a filmmaking coup of sorts. Director Vitaly Mansky spent two years negotiating with the North Korean government over permission to film a documentary in one of the world’s most inaccessible countries. Under the terms of their agreement, North Korea wrote the script and selected the subjects. Mansky and his crew were allowed to film only approved scenes in specific locations, and the North Koreans would delete any footage they deemed unacceptable.

But Mansky had a plan to get around the censors and capture unscripted footage of life in the reclusive state: He left the digital cameras rolling all day as the team of North Koreans assigned to oversee the shoot manufactured each scene, coaching subjects on what to say and how to say it. At the end of each day, the North Koreans would go through the day’s shoot, but in a risky move, in a country where foreigners who act out sometimes spend years in jail, the crew kept duplicate memory cards of all footage, that they then snuck out of North Korea.