Determined to stop a gas mine being built near her inner-city Sydney home, Anna Broinowski, in a world first, goes to North Korea to meet the masters of propaganda filmmaking, who teach her... See full summary »
While of course Comrade Kim Goes Flying inevitably contains a certain degree of what Western audiences would see as propaganda, it is the first example of a North Korean film who's main purpose is to entertain and not indoctrinate its audience.
The tale centers on the story of a young coal miner who has always dreamed of flight and who attempts to reach her dream by becoming a trapeze artist in the Pyongyang circus. Along the way she has to pass through several trials including parental disapproval, the contempt of the acrobatic elite and the grueling training program in order to reach her goal.
The acting and cinematography is of a high standard and the acrobatic feats demonstrated are very impressive. The central story of a feisty, strong, independent girl battling against the North Korean class structure (which the film clearly depicts as still existing) will hopefully provide a good role model for North Korean women which has unfortunately been lacking in previous North Korean films.
This being said, the film is very obviously meant as a fantasy and does not reflect the truth about North Korean working class life. It does also contain some relatively clunky feeling propaganda (a strangely placed conversation about 'the leader' ,a few lines about exceeding mining quotas and an extreme over abundance of food etc.)but these parts seemed thrown it at the last moment and were not an integral part of the film.
Overall, I would say that it is well worth a watch but that it is mainly directed towards a North Korean audience and therefore some scenes may seem a little strange to Westerners.
This is probably one of the only films you will ever see with a cement mixing battle between a coal miner and a trapeze artist.
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