Called one of international cinema’s greatest love stories – and wildest – “The Lovers and the Despot” tells the true-life story of how South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee, met and fell in love in post-war Korea. After a successful film career, they were both kidnapped by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.
A big fan of the duo and obsessed with movies, Jong-il forced them to create features for his pleasure and to improve North Korea’s film business. During their imprisonment, Choi and Shin gained the dictator’s trust and made 17 feature films, all while planning their escape.
“Kim laughed out loud like a triumphant general,” says Choi in the trailer about her experience. “Like a puppet, I was told what to eat, I was even told what to wear.”
The documentary is directed by Robert Cannan and Ross Adam and features testimonials from both Shin and Choi who recount their time being kidnapped. The film made its debut at this years Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by Magnolia Pictures.
“The Lovers and the Despot” will be released in theaters, on demand, Amazon Video and iTunes on September 23.
Watch the official trailer below: