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Paul Fischer à 7 Read & Download

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Download A Kim Jong Il Production The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker His Star Actress and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

A Kim Jong Il Production The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker His Star Actress and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

Before becoming the world’s most notorious dictator Kim Jong Il ran North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios Conceiving every movie made he acted as producer and screenwriter Despite this control he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun Hee Madam Choi South Korea’s most famous actress and her ex husband Shin Sang Ok the country’s most famous filmmakerMadam Choi vanished first When Sh Speechless Nearly w Somos chicos de menta (Tomo 5) its film studios Conceiving every movie made he acted as producer and screenwriter Despite this control he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun Hee Madam Choi South Korea’s most famous actress and her ex husband Shin Sang Ok the country’s most famous filmmakerMadam Choi vanished first When Sh Speechless Nearly w

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In went to Hong Kong to investigate he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury allowed only to attend the Dear Leader’s dinner parties Shin meanwhile tried to escape was sent to prison camp and re educated After four years he cracked pledging loyalty Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader’s film adviso Read by Stephen Par


10 thoughts on “A Kim Jong Il Production The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker His Star Actress and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

  1. says:

    This book is a strong 35 stars maybe even tilting toward 4 If you're interested in it read it It's fun short and fascinating My star docking is of a content critiue but attention spans being what they are these days I wanted to get that out of the wayDevelopment Kim Jong Il was not always “Dear Leader” As a child he was called “Yura” Though he was the son of Kim Sung Il “The Great Leader” and founder of North Korea aka Democratic People's Republic of Korea DPRK it wasn't always a given that he would one day take his father's place It's hard to parse the varying stories of his birthancestry check out Time's Kim Family Tree if you're curious Jong Il was passionate about cinema from an early age and when Sung Il taking a page from the Soviet playbook formed the Propaganda and Agitation Department Jong Il soon made a natural and eager Cultural Arts Director As with almost all aspects of society after the Korean War there was a race for supremacy in the film industries between the North and the South Together director Shin Sang Ok and actress “Madam Choi” Eun Hee were seemingly unstoppable Shin Films became a juggernaut—with the combination of Choi on screen and Shin behind the camera their films were met with acclaim in South Korea and abroad Shin and Choi above as happy young newlyweds embodied the success of South Korean films Few people if any would have been as acutely aware of this as Kim Jong Il His obsession with movies was so great that he set up Resource Operation No 100 a fancied up term for what was essentially film piracy and dubbing at DPRK embassies across the world so he could study the work of all the greats Pre Production By the late 1970s however Choi Shin and Kim Jong Il were confronting challenges in their respective lives Though Choi had tried to ignore Shin's infidelities the two divorced after Shin had a baby with a younger actress Shin had a penchant for pushing the limits of what was considered acceptable in South Korea at the time After ignoring the censorship board one time too many the Office of Public Ethics revoked Shin's license to make films Though the first films made in North Korea eg Sea of Blood and The Flower Girl were successful with a uite literally captive audience of people who were exposed to no other media Kim Jong Il was not satisfied Further given that the DPRK was a “closed country” Jong Il was effectively isolated from foreign talent Both Shin and Choi were essentially foiled by their desires to succeed and pursue their passions Abductionskidnappings across the Korean Demilitarized Zone DMZ were by no means uncommon Fishing boats were regular targets which will come as no surprise to those who have read The Orphan Master's Son and many were skeptical as to whether or not South Korean “defectors” were truly acting under their own will Choi became a “guest of the Dear Leader” by way of Hong Kong in 1978 enticed by an opportunity to direct a film which would help her to achieve her dreams for an acting school in South Korea Though the two had divorced Shin was concerned when his ex wife went missing He spoke out to the press about his suspicions of political conspiracy and was also uestioned as a suspect in Choi's disappearance Meanwhile Shin was still trying to resurrect his company and was having passportvisa problems With nibbles but no bites on various foreign deals for film distribution or directing opportunities Shin was growing desperate and was running out of cash When told that he would be able to get a South American passport in Hong Kong he went for it only to find himself traveling on the same freighter that had taken Choi to the People's Republic ProductionThough Shin and Choi were “special guests” this did not save them from all of the horrors of North Korea's detention and reeducation camps nor were they immediately reunited The conditions of Shin's detainment were particularly bad—similar to those described both in The Orphan Master's Son and Escape From Camp 14 It's difficult to describe my impression of Kim Jong Il based on this book To say that he was well intentioned seems naive and it's impossible to imagine what the world looked like through his eyes given his bizarre upbringing However one sees him though Kim Jong Il was undeniably eager to earn the approval of Shin and Choi and in his own way tried to make them happy even re marrying the couple in 1983 below The title of the book reflects Paul Fischer's ongoing depiction of Kim Jong Il as the producer of his country and its narrative “Between the late 1960s and the end of his Kim Jong Il's life he created one vast stage production He was the writer director and producer of the nation He conceived his people’s roles their devotion their values; he wrote their dialogue and forced it upon them; he mapped out their entire character arcs from birth to death splicing them out of the picture if they broke type” Accordingly there were ways in which “working” for Kim Jong Il was familiar to Shin and Choi “Shin and Choi had both met men like Kim Jong Il on a smaller scale talented but not uite talented enough powerful jealous insecure and boastful; with an overinflated sense of their own importance in the world a short temper and an obsessive need to micromanage Kim was they thought the archetypal film producer” Likewise for Shin especially Jong Il's unilateral power made his life easier Need to blow up a train? Sure thing—sorry you'll have to do it in one take because it's a real running train However lacking the incentives inherent in capitalism the same could not be said of the cast and crew So did it work? Were Shin and Choi everything Kim Jong Il ever dreamed of? In some ways yes Movies in North Korea did get better The people of the DPRK began to share Jong Il's enthusiasm for film in part because the films became something than pure glorifications of life in North Korea Post ProductionShin Sang Ok and Choi Eun Hee however were not truly happy Though they had many of the comforts of “the good life” they were prisoners Also they were pawns in the propaganda game that got this whole thing started Luckily for them their roles as spokespeople for the DPRK reuired some of the trappings of freedom which proved crucial for their escape Critical ReviewWhile this was a fascinating story which seems well researched though I'm no expert Fischer seemed a little overly determined to layer on all of the mystery and “weirdness” of North Korea and its leaders While I'm not planning on overthrowing our democracy any time soon I think that there's always value in trying to see things from other perspectives One of the things I enjoyed about The Orphan Master's Son was its references to how America might look or be portrayed in North Korea — a land of “illiteracy canines and multicolored condoms” I became acutely aware of this while reading Fischer's descriptions of the death and funeral rites of Kim Il Sung “Kim Il Sung’s body was embalmed and put on display for his people to see The process involved removing all of the Supreme Leader’s organs before bathing his hollow corpse in a formaldehyde bath and injecting liters of chemical balsam a cocktail of glycerine and potassium acetate in his veins to keep his flesh lifelike and elastic Finally makeup and lipstick were applied to Kim’s face to restore the illusion of youth” I'm no mortician but that doesn't sound all that different from what goes on at open casket funerals here in the U S of A I think it involves formaldehyde and methanol


  2. says:

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || || PinterestI was inspired to buy A KIM JONG IL PRODUCTION after I received and enjoyed an ARC of THE GREAT SUCCESSOR a biography of Kim Jong Il's youngest son and heir apparent Kim Jong Un In my review I praised the author for her diligent research and the honest portrayal of the leader of a hostile nation where I'm afraid the temptation is far too often to demonize This is dangerous because cartoonish portrayals of harmful individuals fail to acknowledge what we should all keep in mind even people who commit harmful acts are people like you and me and the things that make them seem most human even sympathetic are precisely what make them so effective and so dangerous It's important to understand those nuances and keep them top of mind not just for our own safety but so we don't emulate those behaviors ourselvesA KIM JONG IL PRODUCTION is one of those stranger than fiction tales that reads like an airport thriller but is actually true It is about the South Korean film director Shin Sang Ok and his wife Choi Eun Hee and their kidnapping by DPRK officials Why? Because Kim Jong Il understood the importance of the legacy of pop culture and what it had to offer and that in order to be memorable and leave his mark in his country he would have to contribute something meaningful not just to his people but also on an international level as wellAfter several escape attempts and even some prison time in the case of Shin Sang Ok they were coerced into compliance and ended up making a number of incredibly successful films in DPRK some of which received international accolades Perhaps the most famous is Pulgasari which ironically was the mark of his decline as a film maker and has since received cult status as a Z movie on par with The Room and Trolls 2 and its Western remake Galgameth is no less heinous with a character who looks like an extra from the Dinosaurs TV show But the content he produced pleased Kim Jong Il who accorded them and freedoms until finally they were able to flee to a US embassy where they received asylumFischer does his best to portray Kim Jong Il as a well rounded person who saw nothing wrong with killing those who wronged him including the public execution of an indiscreet mistress but genuinely wanted the admiration of his people and would be self effacing and abashed by public displays acknowledging his greatness Shin and Choi according to this biography always wanted to escape but it seems like they came to identify with their captor as well by necessity yes but also because he was capable of being charming when he wanted to be even though he also could be cruel and took care that they never felt too comfortable or at ease around themMy heart really ached for Choi and Shin Shin's chapters in the prison were nightmarish and the descriptions of what happened to Choi during the Korean War and before were heart rending Her relationship with Shin should have been an oasis but his affairs ended up breaking her heart Ironically their mutual imprisonment in North Korea ended up bringing the two of them back together and they even remarried first at Jong Il's behest in a trumped up PR event of a ceremony but then on their own terms in Europe It was heart rending how they found solace in each other and it made sense why they got back together nobody else could have understood their hardship and I'm sure they found a comfort in the sympathy that arose from their shared tragedyThe ending sadly isn't completely a happily ever after There were plenty of individuals who believed that they lied about their kidnapping and were actual defectors Their careers tanked Choi could not find work as an elderly actress of color and all of Shin's later attempt to direct were relative failures including many Disney TV movies with abysmal ratings like the aforementioned Galgameth and 3 Ninjas I'm sure that was uite a blow being one of the hallmarks of an era only to end up doing kids' movies that nobody really likedI would recommend A KIM JONG IL PRODUCTION to anyone who would like to get a nuanced history of the Korean war North Korea and Kim Jong Il as well as insight into a very strange true crime event from history that people still occasionally make references to to this day It's definitely not happy reading so I would save it for a day when you're in the right mental state but if you can stomach the content it's fascinating and eye opening and will definitely give you new insights into a very secretive nation and the storied history of a tragic couple35 to 4 stars


  3. says:

    Speechless Nearly wordless I've been to Oz but it's Mickey Mouse who rules as a god like Sun King the subjects know their lines perfectly to exalt His Majesty but if they miss a word or don't smile perfectly for the camera it means trouble Three generations will be sent to prisons with sadistic guards and wormy rice if lucky or the degenerate who betrayed the beautiful ruler will be executed publicly Everyone believes that they are the most fortunate people in the world; they see movies which show the destitutedestructive pillaging white faces of the capitalistic West Witches attacking their homeland Absolute loyalty assures greatness the adored father god Mickey guarantees it and he is the forever hero living in a golden palace Looney Toones A country shaped on movie plots Yeah I do feel crazyThe Hermit Kingdom North Korea A famous South Korean actress and her husband covertly kidnapped to expand the greatness of Kim Jong IL's cinematic productions used initially to promote propaganda to the isolated citizens but now wanted to make profit enhance status show other countries how North Korea has evolved Maybe not SO speechless My husband What is going on? after hearing expletives NO No no no OMG I can't believe it Oh my oh my Korea once had had an emperor and had historically been the target and victim of encroaching nations due to its strategic position During WWII the Japanese captured and demoralized the country but afterwards the USA and Soviets decided to split the country in half and act as stewards in its recovery This led to the first Kim IL Sung as dictator to his appointed son Kim Jong IL and to the present Kim Jong Un Their mandate was always to reunite both Koreas and led to the Korean War of 1950 1953 After eight years of being hostages in North Korea in various states of discomfort and luxury Madame Choi and Director Shin gained the Great Ruler's trust sufficiently to travel to Vienna lightly guarded Three years of judicious flattery movie making and careful observation led to their chance dash to freedom at the US Embassy in 1986 They were the first reliable witnesses of Kims' habits and behavior to make their way into the hands of the American national security agenciesPaul Fischer has researched extensively and personally interviewed Madame Choi The information in this book is staggering though it seems to flow by as easily as humorous historical fiction at times Along with bankrupting the country and engaging in criminal activity for financing their personal gain the Kims' sociopathy is chilling when considering their ideology known as juche To their people they are meant to be the absolute supreme Great Leader who must not be uestioned Media has been their means of inculcating the population and its capital city is its greatest stage In some ways I felt as though I was spying on something unforgivably illicit which was terribly sad disturbingly fascinating and psychologically twisted To understand North Korea's psyche and entrapment would take mind bending than I hope to ever deal with but A Kim Jong IL Production has certainly illuminated its image


  4. says:

    This work of creative nonfiction will undoubtedly catch many Asia watchers by surprise Facts about North Korea are thin on the ground here in America but this book blasts open a personal history of Kim Jong Il with a canny graceful and wise commentary that seems far beyond what anyone else has been able to manage It is an enormous feat of research but than that it is so completely and compulsively readable that we are held captive It begins detailing the history of two individuals who were instrumental in the South Korean film industry in the 1940s and 50s Before you ask how relevant that information is to us today just remember that the author is a film producer who claims these early films have a cult following now perhaps because of the Gangnam rage that has spread worldwide and has opened a glimpse into a world never before considered worthy of serious study We couldn’t have a better introduction to film in South Korea nor have we ever had a detailed look at the North Korean film fanatic Kim Jong Il who kidnapped the two leading lights in the South Korean film industry to bolster his own propaganda machine The beautiful and talented South Korean film star Choi Eun Hee was kidnapped first Fischer compares her favorably to Marilyn Monroe with whom she was photographed in terms of star uality and stage presence Choi's former husband the film director and producer Shin Sang Ok was taken later though because he’d tried to escape he was imprisoned in North Korea for a number of years Eventually they were reunited in Pyongyang and began producing films for Kim Jong Il’s ailing film industry This book is partially based on their memoir of their time in captivity and their successful escape to the West Perhaps importantly we learn a huge amount about the Kim regimes This material may be out there somewhere in a hundred escape memoirs spy reports or academic papers but I have never seen so much information about Kim Jong Il and North Korea in one place before Besides all this great new information the writing is absolutely first rate the story fantastic and the immersion into film so well informed that it seems like a trick Who is Paul Fischer and how does he know so much about North Korea? The Introduction and Afterword discuss sources and mostly my concerns about veracity of content were allayed It may just be possible that no one ever bothered before to gather together the dispersed information in just this way before I just don’t know Frankly it is Fischer’s skill that is simply stunning besides the vast trove of collected information about the Kim regime and North Korea The writing is rich and coherent in a way writers only dream of and the sections pass easily into one another while we readers are led deeper into the intricacies of film lore and the strange and frightening propaganda machine of Kim Jong IlI have no idea whether or not Shin Sang Ok and his wife Choi Eun Hee were abducted or if they defected to North Korea In my mind it is regrettable either way but not particularly relevant now It is not what I focused on I have heard some of the details of kidnapping of prisons of life in North Korea but nothing like this detailed look north of the 38th parallel This book has everything grandeur mystery terror and a fluency that makes this tremendous storytelling no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on This book must be labelled creative nonfiction because of the conversations recounted verbatim and the reconstructions of scenes so complete you would think Fischer 'produced' them I don’t care If one fourth of the information in this is book is true we have made great headway in understanding and demystifying a completely obscure regime You will recall the splash Truman Capote made with his fictional recreation of the nonfiction event he wrote about in In Cold Blood Let’s call this in the same vein until we can verify but remember this man Paul Fischer He has burst on the literary scene with a truly stupefying and important offering If he can make films the way he can write we are in for a real treat I listened to the Random House Audio production of this book read beautifully by Stephen Park I have ordered the print edition to look it over carefully As I say books like this don’t come along very often To think this was a debut that took about two years to put together is extraordinary Feb 21 2015Paul Fischer answers a few uestions on my blog WGBH Forum Institute filmed his reading at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge MA and a link to the YouTube video is here


  5. says:

    Read by Stephen ParkDescription Before becoming the world’s most notorious dictator Kim Jong Il ran North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios Conceiving every movie made he acted as producer and screenwriter Despite this control he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun Hee Madam Choi—South Korea’s most famous actress—and her ex husband Shin Sang Ok the country’s most famous filmmaker Madam Choi vanished first When Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury allowed only to attend the Dear Leader’s dinner parties Shin meanwhile tried to escape was sent to prison camp and re educated After four years he cracked pledging loyalty Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader’s film advisors Together they made seven films in the process gaining Kim Jong Il’s trust While pretending to research a film in Vienna they flee to the US embassy and are swept to safety A nonfiction thriller packed with tension passion and politics A Kim Jong Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea’s history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed intensely stage managed country it remains today Hypnotising you couldn't make this up I liked that Fischer gives us western films that were popular as it helps to keep the time periods in context Fully recommended if you don't mind sitting with eyes and mouth in perfect 'O's for the time it takes to go from cover to coverThis cult of personality thing should have been weeded out of human affairs millenia ago it really isn't healthy and yet is persists in figures such as Putin David Miscavige Kim Jong un etcThere is a dearth of Kim Jong Il film making pictures in Google so every review will be playing with this handful available and the images will become stale pretty uickGuardian 2013 The producer from hell375


  6. says:

    Impeccably researched riveting details of a brazen abduction of prominent South Korean film artists by North Korea’s megalomaniac Kim Jong IlKim Jong Il decides film production will bring him acclaim world wide he orchestrates the abduction of South Korean film industry’s Shin Sang Ok and Choi Eun Hee By sharing the couples story Fischer allows entrance into inner North Korea Through the abduction of Shin Sang 0k and Choi Eun Hee we realize how intricate and nefarious North Korea operated under the dictatorship of Kim Jong Il Prison conditions beyond harsh the educating of youth the treatment of citizens all exposed I found the unpredictable and absurd behavior of Kim Jong Il while under the influence or entertaining downright hilarious he is unbelievably self absorbed and power hungry Luckily Shin Sang 0k and Choi Eun Hee played the role of their lives and outsmarted Kim Jong Il I was astounded by the bevy of abductions committed by North Korea people from all nations at riskShin Sang 0k and Choi Eun Hee endured much not nearly as a horrific ordeal as others nonetheless grueling Their plight makes for an engrossing page turning story You find yourself appalled by the audacity of this isolated communist nation and its narcissist dictator This story feels like a movie it’s too absurd to believe but with North Korea anything is truly possible with their thinking and anticsFischer scores high with research and writing A wonderful view of North Korea from the inside out uite a page turner of a story Unbelievable story but it’s very true Highly recommend


  7. says:

    I was aware that North Korea kidnapped English and Japanese language teachers to train its spies but these late 1970's high profile abductions were only vague in my memory Through Paul Fischer's gripping narrative you see not only the story of Choi Eun Hee and Shin Sang Ok but also how North Korea is run at the very top The book piued my interest in the The Interview which I saw last nightSouth Korea's most famous actress and most heralded directorproducer were abducted at the behest of Kim Jong Il the son of the then Premier Kim Il Song It is Jong Il and his staff who created the North Korean brands particularly those of his father Great Leader and himself Dear Leader They orchestrated the big parades and the imagery we in the west come to associate with North Korea In the book you see the author's view that the modern North Korean state is a performance production a display production of its own p62The propaganda that Jong Il cleverly used to pave the way for his ascendance to the premiership along with pushing aside and discrediting his uncles and other possible candidates was a product of his interest in film The films he and his staff created are described as formulaic extolling the Great Leader; depicting outsiders as vile; glorifying the suffering of the people; fueling paranoia etc A fan of western cinema Jong Il had a library which as described may be one of the most complete in the world Since only he could see these films only he knew how far behind his country was in film production To remedy this clever ruses were constructed to abduct this famous teamChoi and Shin are amazing Shin suffers the conseuences of his two escape attempts and Choi endures boredom gaudy pageantry and lives a false existence Once Shin repents of his ways the author shows their contribution to film in North Korea and how with the country's economic decline the famine is only a few years away plans were made to market films abroad These plans cleverly laid and beautifully acted out by the couple brought them to their freedomThis is a can't put it down book This glimpse of the hermit kingdom suares with other portrayals in books such as Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy Ordinary Lives in North Korea and The World Is Bigger Now An American Journalist's Release from Captivity in North Korea A Remarkable Story of Faith Family and Forgiveness and the films such as The Interview and The Red Chapel httpenwikipediaorgwikiTheRed The flashy cover belies the seriousness of the work


  8. says:

    You probably read about this in the newspapers An ultra strange story of how famed South Korean actress Choi Eun hee and her husband the film director Shin Sang ok were kidnapped by Kim Jong Il and the North Korean regime held for eight years and forced to make movies It’s a tale of international espionage skulduggery defections escape attempts and naked propaganda This is a story of bizarre intrigue which is much Fleming than le Carré although I think even Ian Fleming would have thought some of the plot twists a bit out therePaul Fischer relates it in a charming breezy style which works well at this intersection of the bright lights of show business and an ultra hard secret service of a dictator But the style doesn’t trivialise the content indeed it makes those passages where we delve into life in North Korea have an even harsher slap – for example the hardships and drudgery the average North Korean; or the fact that North Korea’s largest prison camp is bigger than the city of Los Angeles and the various tortures which take place within This is a story told for entertainment and Fischer makes it as entertaining as possible but he pointedly refuses to ignore the grim realities Kim Jong Il himself comes across as something of a paradox – yes he is your standard overgrown spoilt child and the point is made late in the book that in his egotistical capricious short tempered demanding way he was just like the other film producers Choi Eun hee and Shin Sang ok knew – but he also struck me as a man who lived inside a bubble of his own creating The hermit kingdom he and his father ran kept the outside world away from its populous to preserve the mystiue that they were living in the greatest country on Earth North Koreans were for a long time unaware of the luxuries which existed as a matter of course elsewhere but Kim Jong Il was a man who actually consumed mass media from that outside world and knew that wasn’t the case yet he seemed to believe in the bubble anywayA fascinating book an excellent book a book I’d thoroughly recommend It makes me want to go out and track down some of the films of Shin Sang ok and the performances of Choi Eun hee just to see what all the fuss was about


  9. says:

    What do Americans know about North Korea? For even the best informed among us the answer is sadly not much What we know or at least have been persuaded to believe comes largely from the testimony of the small but growing community of North Korean refugees Their experiences contributed to the revelations in three remarkable recent books a work of nonfiction Barbara Deming’s Nothing to Envy Ordinary Lives in North Korea; a captivating Pulitzer winning novel The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson; and Escape from Camp 14 One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden a Washington Post reporter’s account of one survivor’s story that has recently been called into uestion Now here comes a new entry on the shelf based on the amazing experiences of two famous South Koreans Shin Sang Ok and Choi Eun Hee who were kidnapped at the behest of a young Kim Jong Il and held captive for nearly a decade to build the North Korean film industryShin once South Korea’s leading filmmaker and Choi the famous leading lady in many of his movies had been married but separated for several years when Choi was spirited off to Pyongyang by North Korean agents Shin was caught in the same trap in Hong Kong soon afterwards She accepted her fate from the outset; he rebelled and twice tried to escape which landed him in the North Korean gulag for several almost unbearable years Then suddenly Kim at that time the heir apparent to his father Kim Il Sung the “Great Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” reunited the pair and elevated them into the directors of his film industry giving them virtual carte blanche to create films that would bring his country to the attention of the world’s leading filmmakers Their increasing success which gave them ever freedom of action eventually provided them with an opportunity to escape to the WestTheir story exhaustively researched confirmed and documented by Paul Fischer should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that what they’ve said is true Still ironically there are many in South Korea who refuse to believe them Despite overwhelming evidence of the truth of their account some insist that the kidnappings were staged to permit the pair to defect to the NorthBarbara Deming and Adam Johnson have done a superb job documenting the travails of the North Korean people and especially the unspeakable horror of the gulag erected to keep the Kim dynasty in power Fischer confirms their accounts So does Harden despite the aspects of his reporting that his subject has recently recanted However what is most memorable about A Kim Jong Il Production is the story that emerges about the rise of the “Dear Leader” who succeeded his father from obscurity to the throne The younger Kim we learn was primarily responsible for building the cult of personality around his father — through public spectacle artful and consistent propaganda and yes film It was Jong Il who manipulated his entire nation into the mindless hero worship that persists to this day under his son and successorA Kim Jong Il Production is a worthy addition to the tiny collection of popular books that illuminate the darkness of North Korea It’s also a great read


  10. says:

    The Kim Jong Il Production is a short but captivating account of the 1980's kidnapping of a south Korean filmmaker and his ex wife a prominent actress by direct orders of 'dear Leader' and future dictator Kim Jong IlCities made of cardboard cut outs starving people proudly proclaiming that there are no starving people in North Korea and a symbolic double rainbow announcing the birth of a Korean messiah who wasn't born that dayNorth Korea is all about the stories told by its government Their edicts decide what is real and what is not and the stories they tell have the power to change past and present something young Kim Jong Il realised early in his careerMaking use of his passion for and extensive knowledge of international movies Jong Il took the post as Minister of Propaganda and managed not only to revolutionize North Korean cinema but also to change his status from 'written off' son to his fathers official successor and next dictator of North Korea abducting a prominent Director and a star actress from South Korea in the processSo it is only fitting that with cintematography and 'storytelling' the leading motif in the history of Kim Jong Ils rise to power the story itsself should be presented as a gripping tale rather than a dry retelling of the eventsFischer's book does that perfectly while making use of solely verifyable facts and sources and only rarely indulging in speculation he weaves the victims stories and witness accounts into a compelling narrative that kept me fascinated to the last pageYet Fischer still manages to stay mostly unobtrusive and neutral in his descriptions which not only makes for a pleasant reading experience but also serves to highlight the horrors and absurdities of the Kim regime instead of watering them down with overly sentimental languageThe author details an intimate history not only of the fate of the South Korean abductees but also of the Kim's themselves focussing not so much on political events but of course providing necessary information where appropriate but on the stories surrounding father Kim Il sung and son Kim Jong Il and thus making his work easily accessible even to readers not overly familliar with recent Korean history All in all a very interesting and entertaining bookI'd recommend this to anyone interested in the mindset of the North Korean regime the personality of Kim Jong Il and his father or Korean cinemaThis is also a great book for those with a casual interest in North Korea but very little prior knowledge who appreciate a thrilling and true story to pull them along


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