Perhaps one of the last great, and truly bizarre, propaganda machines on the planet, the North Korean government has become expert at attempting to sell itself as bigger, more threatening, and as culturally advanced as the world around it. However, that bluster has also seen the leadership make desperate moves, and the upcoming documentary “The Lovers And The Despot,” premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, dives into a truly odd portion of the country’s history.
Directed by Ross Adam and Robert Cannan, the film tells the story of South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and leading actress Choi Eun-hee, both of whom wind up imprisoned and kidnapped separately by North Korea, and reunited by Kim Jong-il, who has another plan up his sleeve for them… Here’s the official synopsis:
In the aftermath of the Korean War, ambitious young film director Shin Sang-ok and leading actress Choi Eun-hee enter into a glamorous romance and rise to the top of South Korean society. But their movie-world idyll is shattered after Shin has a scandalous affair and they divorce. Then their lives take a bizarre turn. Choi is kidnapped by film-loving despot-in-training Kim Jong-il, who imprisons her in his summerhouse. Shin desperately searches for his ex-wife, but is abducted and thrown into a North Korean concentration camp. Kept apart for years, they are finally reunited by Kim, who declares them his own filmmakers. Having rekindled their love for each other, they now plan their escape…
It sounds like a pretty remarkable story. “The Lovers And The Despot” will have its first screening at Sundance on Friday, January 22nd at 9 PM. Watch below.