Thursday, March 19, 2020

A look inside: Fun in North Korea (video)

DW (German PBS, March 1, 2020); CC Liu, Pat Macpherson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

A look at life inside North Korea
American propaganda makes us fear tiny country
Are people in North Korea allowed to laugh, dance, and marry? This documentary provides unique insights on everyday life in the East Asian country, which most Americans (subject to Western propaganda and little else) associate with dictatorship, military parades, and nuclear missile tests.

Perhaps no other country in the world is as mysterious as North Korea (except perhaps Buddhist Bhutan). In the West it’s known as the last Stalinist dictatorship, the land of Dictator Kim Jong Un, bombastic military parades, and nuclear missile tests.

Kim Jong Il is a dictator and a nut.
It is actually quite difficult to look beyond the political and examine the daily life of 25 million North Koreans. Are they allowed to laugh, dance, and marry? What do they eat? Where do they go on holiday? These simple questions are difficult to answer given the isolation of the population from the rest of the world.

The filmmakers behind Have Fun in Pyongyang (p'yong-yang), the capital of the country, visited people who have lived in the isolated mountainous nation for three generations. Over eight years, they visited North Korea 40 times to attend festivals and harvest ceremonies, visit factories, and listen to singing contests, in the process catching surprising, fascinating, and bizarre glimpses of everyday life.

The documentary gives an insight into North Korean life and helps us understand how the impoverished, isolated country has survived the end of the Cold War, the famine of the 1990s that cost hundreds of thousands their lives, and the never-ending diplomatic and military conflicts.

DW Documentary brings knowledge beyond the headlines from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life, and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events.

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