in about 100 words or less
UK 95m, Colour/B&W
Director: Robert Cannan & Ross Adam; Cast: Choi Eun-hee, Shin Sang-ok, Kim Jong-il
The Lovers and the Despot is a fascinating documentary about the lives of South Korean actor Choi Eun-hee and film director Shin Sang-ok. Relying heavily on audio messages that were smuggled out of North Korea, and interview footage, we learn how former dictator and cinephile Kim Jong-il purportedly kidnapped the estranged couple with the aim of reviving his country’s film industry. While providing many insights into the circumstances surrounding the couple’s disappearance, unfortunately, the filmmakers left many questions about their relationship and work with Jong-il, unanswered (Klaus Ming February 2017).