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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer

Title: A Kim Jong-Il Production
Author: Paul Fischer
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: February 3, 2015
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "Before becoming the world's most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea's Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios. Conceiving every movie made, he acted as producer and screenwriter. Despite this control, he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps, ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun-Hee (Madam Choi)-South Korea's most famous actress-and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country's most famous filmmaker.

Madam Choi vanished first. When Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate, he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea. Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury, allowed only to attend the Dear Leader's dinner parties. Shin, meanwhile, tried to escape, was sent to prison camp, and "re-educated." After four years he cracked, pledging loyalty. Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends, it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader's film advisors. Together they made seven films, in the process gaining Kim Jong-Il's trust. While pretending to research a film in Vienna, they flee to the U.S. embassy and are swept to safety."

My Two Cents:

"A Kim Jong Il Production" is one of those books that could be filed under "too good to be true" but it's true all the same. Kim Jong Il, a guy that could also have been filed under "too good to be true but true all the same," really liked movies and so he kidnaps his favorite foreign filmmaker and a movie star and makes them make movies under duress. It's absolutely crazy but it happened and it's all in this book!

Drawing largely from the memories of both the filmmaker and the movie star, the author puts together a crazy story that entertained me from start to finish. North Korea is such a strange place to me and this book definitely illustrates how strange the place (and its leaders really are). I read this book with my mouth agape for most of it just because I could not believe how strange the whole scenario was. It sounds like a plot for a really bad movie because it's so strange.

This was an enjoyable read and would be a great pick for those who love reading about the stranger paths history has taken!


1 comment:

  1. I loved this book as well. I went on a North Korea binge not too long ago, and everything i learned was horrifying and fascinating.


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