ming movie reviews

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The Lovers and the Despot (2016)

UK 95m, Colour/B&W
Director: Robert Cannan & Ross Adam; Cast: Choi Eun-hee, Shin Sang-ok, Kim Jong-il

lovers-and-the-despotThe 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).


4 comments on “The Lovers and the Despot (2016)

  1. Hoosier X

    This looks interesting. I know about Kim Jong-Il’s weird scheme to bolster North Korea’s film industry from stumbling across it on the Internet. I’ve even seen the monster movie that came out of it. (Pulgasari – it’s great! I saw it on YouTube.) And I’m always surprised when I bring it up by how many people have heard of Kim kidnapping South Korean filmmakers. I didn’t know there was a documentary about it. I’ll have to dig it up somewhere.

    • Klaus

      I’d heard about Kim Jong-Il’s obsession with cinema, but had not heard about this story until I saw the film. Definitely worth a look, even though it feels like there is more to the story than the film describes. And i’ll have to check out Pulgasari! Thanks.

      • Hoosier X

        Pulgasari is a heckuva lot of fun. My nephew (12 at the time) watched it with me, and he watched the whole thing. He’s notorious for abandoning old movies (made before 2000) in the first ten minutes and going back to his video games. (But he did watch Safety Last, The Unholy Three (the silent version) and Freaks. His favorite movie is Rhubarb!)

        I got him to watch it because he was a little obsessed with North Korea for a while after he saw The Interview. He loved Pulgasari!

  2. Klaus

    ha, ha…old movies (before 2000) 🙂

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This entry was posted on 02/18/2017 by in 2010s, All and tagged , .
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