'History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme' - Mark Twain.
A gallimaufry of random China history and research interests
Monday, February 2, 2009
North Korea - The Box Set
After mentioning lunching up north with Dan Gordon of Very Much So Productions and his excellent North Korean documentaries I feel I didn’t really give them enough of a plug – especially as they’ve now got a box set of all three DPRK DVDs available. It was also the case that Dan paid for lunch so I better repay a bit here with a plug! In case anyone doesn’t know these documentaries they are:
The Game of Their Lives – the story of the North Korean football team that went to the 1966 World Cup in England, knocked out the Italians, became the darlings of Middlesbrough where they were based and returned home heroes. Dan, and his mate Nick Bonner (who runs the infamous Koryo Tours, the best travel agents to North Korea) went to Pyongyang and dug up the surviving the members of the team.
State of Mind - An observational film following two young gymnasts and their families for over eight months in the lead up to the Mass Games- involving a cast of thousands in a choreographed socialist realism spectacular- the biggest and most elaborate human performance on earth.
Crossing the Line– In 1962, a U.S. soldier sent to guard the peace in South Korea deserted his unit, walked across the most heavily fortified area on earth and defected to the Cold War enemy, the communist state of North Korea. He then simply disappeared from the face of the known world. He became a coveted star of the North Korean propaganda machine, and found fame acting in films, typecast as an evil American. He uses Korean as his daily language. He has three sons from two wives. He has now lived in North Korea twice as long as he has in America. At one time, there were four Americans living in North Korea. Today, just one remains. Now, after 45 years, the story of Comrade Joe, the last American defector in North Korea, is told.
All three films are excellent and combined provide more footage of North Korea and North Koreans than ever seen before. Well worth picking up as a box set – click here.
As someone who divides their time pretty evenly writing about China now and China back then this seemed like a place to throw all the interesting bits that fall through the cracks somehow and never get used anywhere else.
It's basically the stuff that doesn't get used in my writing about modern China or in the books I do about old China - i.e. probably of little interest to anyone but me and therefore ideally suited to an obscure blog up a dark cul-de-sac of the Internet.