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North Korean Cinema - A History

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North Korean Cinema - A History

Johannes Schonherr

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6526-2
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-7864-9052-3
118 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
224pp. softcover (7 x 10) 2012

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About the Book

Like many ideological dictatorships of the twentieth century, North Korea has always considered cinema an indispensible propaganda tool. No other medium penetrated the whole of the population so thoroughly, and no other medium remained so strictly and exclusively under state control. Through movies, the two successive leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il propagandized their policies and sought to rally the masses behind them, with great success. This volume chronicles the history of North Korean cinema from its beginnings to today, examining the obstacles the film industry faced as well as the many social problems the films themselves reveal. It provides detailed analyses of major and minor films and explores important developments in the industry within the context of the concurrent social and political atmosphere. Through the lens of cinema emerges a fresh perspective on the history of North Korean politics, culture, and ideology.

About the Author

Johannes Schonherr is a freelance writer specializing in travel, film and food. He lives in Japan.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 4
 1. At the Pyongyang Film Festival 9
 2. The Early Years 26
 3. The Korean War (1950-1953) 32
 4. The Establishment of Juche 35
 5. Kim Jong Il Enters the Scene 43
 6. Shin Sang-ok Active in North Korea (1983-1986) 72
 7. Shin Sang-ok’s Influence on Concurrent North Korean Cinema (1984-1986) 91
 8. The Post-Shin Sang-ok Years (1986-1993) 99
 9. Famine and the Death of Kim Il Sung (1994-1999) 124
10. The Sunshine Years (2000-2008) 143
11. Post-Sunshine: The Most Recent Films (2009-2011) 169
12. Ten Zan, an Italian Coproduction: Ferdinando Baldi’s Ultimate Mission 175
13. Audience Perspectives: Interviews with North Korean Defectors 189
Appendix: Original Korean Film Titles 201
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 210
Index 211

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