The Lovers and the Despot

Rob Cannan, Adam Ross
GBR 2016

North Korea is known for many things: a repressive government, widespread starvation, cults of personality, and general insanity. What it’s not known for is its film scene – a celluloid history that would rival anything by the Russian or French masters. At least, such was Kim Jong-il’s hope when he abducted famed South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, actress Choi Eun-hee, with the intent of forcing the two to make North Korean films to rival those that he had seen from outside the regime. For eight years, five of which were spent imprisoned, the husband and wife team were held as hostages by Kim Jong-il. Though they were afforded luxuries tantamount to their status as Kim’s prized possessions, they nevertheless feared for their lives and longed for a return home, where their two children were growing up thinking that their parents had defected to North Korea, leaving them behind. Told through interviews, Choi’s audio tapes, and rare footage of North Korea, this film offers an engaging story set in the secretive state. (Valeriy Kolyadych)

  • Al Sirkett
  • Jon Sayers
  • Yoonseuk Back
  • Park Byung-kyu
  • Ric Clark
  • Will Edwards
  • u.a.
  • Jim Hession
  • Nathan Halpern
  • Choi Eun-hee
  • Michael Yi
  • Shin Jeong-kyun
  • Shin Myung-yim
  • Choi Kyung-ok
  • Iain T.A. Hall
  • Pierre Rissient
  • David Straub
The Hellflower Film

Magnolia Pictures

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