North Korean Film School

Al Jazeera English has proven to be, perhaps, the best news organization going at the moment with their top-notch coverage of the events transpiring in the Middle East. In this particular segment of their program 101 East, they turn their eye to another oppressed nation: North Korea, specifically the Pyongyang University of Cinematic and Dramatic Arts. Here, as everywhere else, the curriculum is focused on the teachings of the state, specifically Kim Jong Il, heralded in his country as a cinematic genius. The university, then, is a training ground for the actors and directors who will make up the North Korean government’s propaganda machine.

To their credit, reporters Lynn Lee and James Leong have few illusions as to what their report is about. While they do manage to get inside the school, much of their footage is confiscated due to the draconian rules for filming within the university (only uncropped, stationary shots of images of the Dear Leader and his words). It is, however, an interesting look at how the elite live in the nation’s capital city. The country is once again experiencing food shortages, but while most of the country starves, its embassies instructed to beg for food, high ranking members of the North Korean government live in relative luxury. Of course, as we have seen before, not everything is quite as it seems in the DPRK.

3 Responses to “North Korean Film School”

  1. Ian Says:

    Hell yeah AlJazeera English!! My Egyptologist friends and I have been glued to the live feed for the past couple weeks. . .

  2. Nadya Says:

    Poor kids. The scenes of them working through the power outage and ice skating at the end really got me. Good documentary!

  3. La Môme Néant Says:

    North Korea videos always manage to make me uncomfortable.
    I got interested in the country when I discovered it is actually not so closed, you can do 3/4 days trips, leaving from Beiking. Actually my former boss used to call NK almost twice a week for business – I work for animation and there is a big studio in Pyongyang.