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Shin Dong-Huyk was born on November 19, 1983 as a political prisoner in a North Korean re-education camp. He was a child of two prisoners who had been married by order of the wardens. He spent his entire childhood and youth in Camp 14, in fact a death camp. He was forced to labor since he was six years old and suffered from hunger, beatings and torture, always at the mercy of the wardens. He knew nothing about the world outside the barbed-wire fences. At the age of 23, with the help of an older prisoner, he managed to escape. For months he traveled through North Korea and China and finally to South Korea, where he encountered a world completely strange to him. Written by
The range of human capacity for good and evil at both ends of the spectrum are shockingly revealing
I don't know where to begin.
After exhaustive study of various Medieval torture and execution methods and Chinese's thousands way to die I thought I could stomach anything. This is different. There are no gores. No screaming special effects. Shortest recounts follow by a deafening silence. And the indifference a fellow human being can be taught to be totally devoid of emotions or compassion for another and even to one's own family member. Words escape me because even in post 21st century an evil this horrifying still exists among us.
I don't know how to continue.
Depending on whether you are able to empathize with intense human conditions, you'll either hate it for being boring or laud it for its courage and fortitude. Shin Dong-hyuk, born 1982, is believed to be the only known person born in a North Korean prison camp that escaped to tell the tale. Due to his extraordinary circumstances, for the very first time, we're witnessing a difficult and painful recount of memories he wish he never had to revisit in fact, on several occasions, the memories were so intense he attempt to stop the interview. During his long pauses I stared at him attempting to connect to his soul; I can feel a boiling of emotions using my own imaginations it's harrowing. I actually felt bad he had to relive these painful memories but someone has to do it sooner or later so the world would know. Ex-prison guards who now live in South Korea are interviewed as well.
One observation: after watching the film, I felt Shin has his soul torn out literally - he couldn't cry or shed tears even as a memory deeply disturbs him. He at times felt anger but that soft human side that takes years of love to nurture that's missing. I am deeply saddened. Maybe in time, he will find peace in his own ways.
I will stop here. If you should watch it, it is not for the faint of heart. There are many thoughts flying through my minds right now, how lucky we are, the innocence of a pure heart vs. a world run by money, what is it to be human, how low can a human go if they're deprived of love and how in the darkest hour a human affection can redeem a soul.
This is not just a movie review it's a call to action. Join grassroots movement, write to international bodies for human rights, and spread the word. For the day the N. Korean prison camps fall, it will be a huge triumph for humanity.
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