By Indiewire | Indiewire October 23, 2006 at 10:54AM
It's the runaway film sensation of the summer, it comes direct from one of the world's most secretive and repressive dictatorships - and it is heading for a screen near you. "The Schoolgirl's Diary," which recounts an ordinary North Korean teenager's aspirations for a better life, is the first film from the state to be sold to a Western distributor for decades. Despite the fact that North Korea's 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong-il - a well-known film buff - advised on the script, its natural style is said to be very different from former North Korean classics such as "Sea of Blood," "Flames Spreading Over the Land" and "The Path to Awakening." James Velaise, head of Paris-based film distributor Pretty Pictures, which has picked up French rights to the film as part of a four-picture package, said that there will be "a big curiosity factor." Jason Burke reports.