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A Kim Jong-Il Production

The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


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.A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, author Paul Fischer's A Kim Jong-Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea’s history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 22, 2014 – North Korea is a nightmarish movie theater without an exit in this gripping true-life thriller. Fischer, a documentary filmmaker, recounts the 1977 78 abductions of South Korea's leading director, Shin Sang-Ok, and his ex-wife, the movie star Choi Eun-Hee. The two were abducted on the orders of North Korea's movie-obsessed crown prince Kim Jong-Il, who wanted them to upgrade the government's wooden propaganda films with pizzazz and higher production values. The story combines harrowing hardships Choi endured house arrest and constant Kafkaesque "reeducation" exercises; Shin was starved and tortured in prison after escape attempts with dizzying reversals of fortune as the couple are rehabilitated to make hit films under Kim's sponsorship and later plot a nerve-racking flight to the West. In Fischer's vivid close-up, Kim emerges as "the archetypal film producer" writ monstrous: charming and lordly, basking in parties with Joy Brigade starlets and groveling underlings, full of tasteless visions, and ruthless when crossed. (He ordered a mistress who two-timed him to be shot in front of thousands of spectators, including her husband.) Fischer's entertaining narrative paints an arresting portrait of a North Korean "theater state," forced to enact the demented script of a sociopathic tyrant. Photos.
A Kim Jong-Il Production
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Asia
  • Published: Feb 03, 2015
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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