A Kim Jong-Il Production
The Extraordinary True Story Of A Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, And A Young Dictator's Rise To Power
by Paul Fischer
Wonderful! Extraordinary! I really enjoyed this one. I have had a fascination about the DPRK for years now. One thing that keeps me so riveted is that I am often learning about new quirks and idiosyncrasies every time I look in a new direction. If there is one thing North Korea does well, it's keep secrets! Another thing it also does well is unfailingly surprise outsiders understandably unaccustomed to the country's way of life.
Of course, there are many sad facts and stories about the DPRK. Yet, the way the elite live is simply an unheard of type of opulence in this day and age. Probably the only people who still live in such luxury are those members of royalty in other countries, notably the middle eastern royal families.
As for the content within Paul Fischer's book, there was a lot of it that was new to me. The accounts of Choi Eun-Hee and Shin Sang-Ok were at the same time harrowing and fascinating. From their kidnappings to their lives in the DPRK, to the hardships of Mr. Shin in Prison #6. From their incredible patience in executing their escape plans, and even their story's reception by the outside world. All of it was eye-opening, and at times shocking.
I appreciated the insights given by the author regarding Kim Jong-Il's upbringing and his efforts to secure the succession of power. It was all like peeking through a looking glass into a world of theatrics, orchestration, and fear. Part of me wanted to be a fly on the wall (or even participant) of some of Jong-Il's parties and his general lifestyle. One thing that was most striking was how North Korea's entire socialist style system was intrinsically limiting to the growth of the country, and the quality of its filmmaking, which the book used as its crux much of the time. This was expected, since it involved the kidnapping of a filmmaker and a star actress.
I give A Kim Jong-Il Production 5 stars.