Movies about North Korea are rare enough so that when one turns up in the theaters, it’s worth knowing about.
The movie at hand is one I first heard about in 2004, at a conference in Warsaw on human rights (or, rather, the utter lack thereof) in North Korea. There were North Korean defectors there, telling their stories; and policy types looking for ways to do something about it all. And there was an American woman there named NC Heikin, who said she wanted to make a film about the horrors of North Korea, and the stories told by some of the defectors — many of whom had endured incredible rigors and sacrifice to escape to the free world.
Heikin made that movie. Titled Kimjongilia, it is opening tomorrow in New York City. As she notes on the movie’s web site, one of the difficulties of chronicling the abuses inside North Korea is that apart from official propaganda, there is so little footage available from inside the country — and the North Korean regime is not about to allow film-makers to show the truth. So Heikin weaves together interviews with defectors, official North Korean footage, and interpretive dance, to tell the story.
Someday, North Korea’s regime will go — and the TV news and talks shows will be packed with people talking about the horrors that went on within, and they will be asking how the world let this go on for so long. NC Heikin is raising that question now. So, a heads up if you happen to be in Manhattan — you should be able check on locations here. And if you are not in Manhattan, but want to sample some of the film, here, again, is the site.