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Kimjongilia2009

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  • 4.2
North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated nations. For sixty years, North Koreans have been governed by a totalitarian regime. A cult of personality surrounds its two recent leaders: first, Kim Il Sung, and now, his son, Kim Jong Il. For Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday, a hybrid begonia named kimjongilia was created, symbolizing wisdom, love, justice, and peace. The film draws its name from this bright red flower and reveals the extraordinary stories told by survivors of North Korea’s vast prison camps, of deadly famine, and of every kind of repression. In a series of devastating interviews with refugees, director N.C. Helkin traces their torturous paths to freedom, on rickety sailboats and across mountain passes, while exposing the inhuman conditions they suffered in the nation’s concentration camps. Their experiences are interspersed with archival footage of North Korean propaganda films and original scenes that illuminate the contours of daily life for a people whose every action is monitored, and whose every thought could bring official retribution. Along with the survivors’ stories, Kimjongilia examines the mass illusion possible under totalitarianism and the human rights abuses required to maintain that illusion.

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1 member likes this review

Harrowing, horrifying, and sad. Kim Jong Il never faced justice, but I have hope that this filthy and evil regime will not survive his son.

Member Reviews (8)

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top reviewer

The testimonials were very moving and powerful. In today's highly charged atmosphere of rhetorical war-mongering between N. Korea and the United States, it is difficult to overcome suspicion of propagandistic visuals of suffering when so little credible information is available regarding the inner workings and society of N. Korea. I take at face value the testimonials but the film's weakness is the failure to provide genuine context of the historical roots of N. Korea's paranoia of Western motives and the fact that the United States world hegemony is hardly driven by humanitarian motives or genuine respect for human rights. There is also the problem of "the author's agenda," that is arguably a given from an artistic point of view, of looking at evil from the victim's perspective and no other. In the end, therefore, films like these become pure propaganda - one-sided information. It informs the heart but abandons the mind.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

Intense documentary about the many faceted horror that is North Korea. It's not stated or suggested, but is demonstrated repeatedly that the leaders of NK wouldn't hesitate to use nuclear weapons on the NK population. Of course since most of the population appears to be convinced that the KJI dynasty is supernatural as sure as the majority in the US believe in God the Father, from whom all good things come and whose terrible swift sword is the ultimate fear the Kim Jongs enjoy a status unequaled by adding together President, Kings, Popes, Jesus and Mohammed etc etc. It's a startling phenomenon that throws our own society's beliefs into relief as won wonders...why would people believe other than the only thing they've ever known or been taught? It is kind of appalling tha only other review is lamely satirical. That's where our peoples' heads are at, "everybody's clever nowadays" as the man says in whichever Smiths song it is ("The Queen is Dead"?). The human mind in action seems largely to be an entirely programmable machine. I suppose I simply have what seems to me better training/progamming. Very scarey. I mean, this film makes you think about human nature with some serious apprehension.

1 member likes this review

Harrowing, horrifying, and sad. Kim Jong Il never faced justice, but I have hope that this filthy and evil regime will not survive his son.

1 member likes this review

This film is primarily consisting of Western imperialist lies about glorious wonders of best Korea and her beloved and certainly not dead leader Kim Jong-il. High points are a few clips of dear leader hard at work for his people and reviewing best Korea army on parade, ready to crush capitalist dog South Korea. Obviously hired actors tell convincing stories of supposed horrors of dear leader's reeducation camps, and make up unbelievable tales of escaping best country in the world, where no one leaves because they love their plentiful harvests, their beloved ruler, and their not-at-all famine-stricken benighted hellhole of a country. Overall not so good for best Korea, would not recommend for state distribution.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Heart wrenching.

Sobering look at devastating conditions in North Korea.

Sad. There is so much suffering,but there is hope. Soon all human governments will fall. Only one will reign(Daniel 2:44,45). All wickedness will disappear, and only those loving their Creator and their fellowman will live on a restored earth, under our Creator's rulership. No one will do any harm to anyone (Psalms 37:10, 11).

Well, how sad...why has the death of Kim Jong Il not lead to the destruction of the third regime??? I am fascinated by NK documentaries...but saddened to see this one b/c it seems those on film hoped after Kim Jong Il's death the regime would fail. Instead they have another nut controlling & manipulating them.