Frontline: Season 32, Episode 2

Secret State of North Korea (2014)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Documentary
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 185 users  
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Through smuggled footage and interview with defectors, the true state of North Korea under Kim Jong-Un is examined.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Jirô Ishimaru ...
Himself - Editor, Asia Press
Lee ...
Himself - North Korea Escapee
Jang Jin-Sung ...
Himself - Former Propagandist
Andrei Lankov ...
Himself - Author, The Real North Korea
Sue Mi Terry ...
Herself - Senior Analyst, CIA
Jeong Kwang-il ...
Himself - North Korea Defector
David Kang ...
Himself - Director, Korean Studies Institute, USC
Kang Sin Sam ...
Himself - Open Radio for North Korea
Chanyang ...
Herself - North Korea Defector
Sokeel Park ...
Himself - Liberty in North Korea
Yong-hee ...
Herself - North Korea Defector
Victor Cha ...
Himself - National Security Council
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peter Berkrot ...
(voice)
...
(voice)
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Storyline

From PBS and Frontline: Just two years in the job and armed with nuclear weapons, North Korea's Kim Jong-Un is the world's youngest dictator, ruling one of the world's most isolated countries. Like his father and grandfather, he wants to maintain tight control over what North Koreans see of the world - and what the world sees of North Korea. But with unique access, FRONTLINE goes inside the secret state to explore life under its new ruler, and investigate the enigmatic "Morning Star King" as he tries to hold onto power. Using new footage smuggled from inside and never-before-told stories from recent defectors living in South Korea, the film offers a rare glimpse of how some North Koreans are defying authority in a country where just being caught with illegal DVDs could mean immediate imprisonment. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary

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TV-PG
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2014 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
A glimmer of hope....though small.
7 January 2015 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Over the last decade or so, there have been only a few documentaries about life within North Korea because the country is mostly closed to filmmakers. A few films have been made using smuggled video, one was made with State blessing about students preparing for a pageant to celebrate their beloved leader and another was made by folks traveling with eye surgeons doing free surgeries to various needy North Koreans. "Secret State of North Korea" uses smuggled video-- and what they smuggled out is amazing as you really wonder how the folks with video cameras were able to get so much footage out without being caught.

In many ways, this film is much like the others. However, there are a few ways it is unique and merits your time. Unlike the other films I've seen (which would include "A State of Mind", "Crossing the Line" and "Seoul Train"--among others), this one actually offers some glimmers of hope. The others describe and show a life so brainwashed and grim that any hope for change seems very remote at best. But, in this new film from "Frontline" there is a strong sense that change is coming-- slowly, perhaps, but it IS coming and is inevitable. Smuggling in western films and exposing North Koreans to life outside their country is changing society and it's surprising to see and hear a few videos smuggled out of the country that show these people actually arguing with police, questioning their leaders behind closed doors and having cell phones!

All in all a fascinating look at life within North Korea that seems quite different from others. Which view is most accurate? It's hard to say but with improved technology, it is going to be much harder for their government to completely suppress all incoming information from the people. Well worth seeing and very well made. Also a very brave film when you consider the many who risked their lives and freedom to get these images.


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