‘I’m so ronery!’
Kim Jong-il kidnapped south Korean film makers to make, among other things, the awesome sounding Pulgasari:
It sounds more far-fetched than anything a film-maker could invent - the story of how a director and a leading actress were kidnapped by North Korea and forced to make films for the state’s movie-mad leader, Kim Jong-il.
It seemed like a simple solution - North Korea needed skills. Other countries had those skills - so why not just just kidnap the skilled workers?
In some cases, very skilled workers. In 1977, a top South Korean pianist was hired by a mysterious patron to give a private performance in an isolated villa outside Zagreb. But he’d grown suspicious, spotting a North Korean aircraft at the airport and then hearing North Korean accents as he approached the house. He fled and escaped.
But South Korea’s most celebrated film director and his film-star wife were not so lucky. Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee were both snatched in Hong Kong. A similar ruse was used to that tried with the pianist - the lure of meeting in a remote house. The couple spent eight years in North Korea making films there before finally escaping.
The kidnap plot was hatched by Kim Jong-il who, before he succeeded his father as the country’s leader, was in charge of its film industry. He was a great film buff, an avid watcher of Hollywood movies - in particular, the first Rambo movie, anything with Elizabeth Taylor and the James Bond films which may have fed his appetite for covert operations.
North Korean diplomats in Western countries were instructed to secure copies of blockbusters for him to watch in Pyongyang.
So not about an actual film, but a few films made under this crazy ‘it can only happen in North Korea!’ scenario. Now does anyone know if Pulgasari is any good?