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Saturday, September 17, 2016

'Under the Sun' DVD: Documentarian Calls Bullshit on Efforts to Censor Film on North Korea

  • Under the Sun
The September 20, 2016 Icarus Films DVD release of the 2015 documentary "Under the Sun" is a textbook example of the Icarus motto that it distributes "innovative and provocative documentary films from independent producers around the world." The official "Sun" theme of the daily lives of young Zin-Mi and her parents in Pyongyang, North Korea alone makes a fascinating topic; Russian director Vitaly Mansky highlighting the laughably blatant propaganda aspects of the film make it a "must-see" classic.

Zin-Mi is 8 and is newly chosen for membership in the elite Children's Union. The ceremony in which Zin becomes a member of that group coinciding with the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jung-un turbo amps up the propaganda level. 

"Sun" initially seems to be a standard propaganda that (considering where it is being filmed) not surprisingly is being made under the close eye of a government official. The first of several captions in which Mansky states that all is not as it seems is the first clue regarding the extent to which the supreme powers-that-be are distorting the truth to meet the desired objective.

Saying much more about the scenes in the film and the inclusion of proof that all literally is not as it seems would ruin the impact of "Sun." On a general level, we see happy school children enjoying academics and the arts and happy adults working in clean factories for very kind and appreciative bosses. In other words, Jung-un is making North Korea great again.

We further witness the extent to which former leader Kim Il-Sung is a combination folk legend/war hero. This includes stories of American forces trembling in fear before him.

On a larger level, even a warped view of life in this city is rare; both seeing how the people allegedly live and the extent to which the government controls those images is equally compelling and intriguing.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Sun" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.