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Alex Ross Perry
Alex Ross Perry,
For some, the Korean War was a clear example of American imperialism. For others, it was a valiant effort on the part of the UN and the Koreans to quash the spread of communism. For all Koreans, it was a tragedy. The country was not just divided; it was devastated. The death toll was astronomical, and the destruction profound. Many engage in assigning blame for the war according to their political beliefs, but this is a useless exercise. The point is that the human rights situation in North Korea today is catastrophic. KIMJONGILIA is the first film to let North Korean refugees tell their stories in their own words.Written by
Wonderful documentary about North Korean survivors
I have been fascinated with North Korea for several years. What we see on TV, and in news broadcasts, typically isn't how it really is. We see the best of the worst. But there is so much more to this country. If you look at maps of the world lit up at night, there is a very noticeable black hole, that is North Korea.
I've always wondered how these people live in a country where control is so absolute. Why don't they just escape, or revolt? Other countries have this, escapes and revolts, yet we don't hear of it in North Korea.
Then I stumbled upon this documentary, Kimjongilia, the flower named after Kim Jong-Il. It's a very well put together documentary, with the story told by those who were fortunate enough to have left. You hear the stories from their mouths (the version I saw had subtitles for us English language speakers). You got to hear (read) their stories. The woman whose children are gone. The young woman who miraculously survived a coma. The men who served in the military.
The video footage is very stark, and real. The photographs, well some are hard to view. My teenage son and I watched this together, stopping constantly to discuss various things, and compare them to our life in the United States. The fact that on a Thursday, on a day we give thanks, we are able to sit/lay on my bed, watching this documentary while it's 20 degrees outside, and we're toasty warm inside eating a hamburger, we both commented on how there are so many people in that country who can't even imagine doing something like that, because it's not something they're allowed to dream about.
I do hope, though, as one man does, that one day North Korea reunites with South Korea, and it happens sooner rather than later. I hope that North Koreans are able to learn the joys of reading something without worry of being turned in by your neighbors. Or listening to music that is free to choose from, not government sanctioned. Free from famine, from the gulags. Just free.
As for age recommendation for this documentary, I would certainly say teenage is a perfect age to start watching, perhaps a little younger depending on the maturity level. It does show pictures of younger children that are starving, and they may be difficult for younger children to watch (and some adults). There is no graphic violence shown however. And it would be a wonderful documentary to watch with teenagers though who feel life is unfair. You walk away from this one feeling you have it pretty darn good.
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