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Over the course of one year, this film follows the life of an ordinary Pyongyang family whose daughter was chosen to take part in one of the famous Korean "Spartakiads". The ritualized explosions of color and joy contrast sharply with pale everyday reality, which is not particularly terrible, but rather quite surreal, like a typical life as seen "through the looking glass".Written by
A rehearsed propaganda film featuring "unapproved" footage
Under the sun is a scripted fiction documentary. 'The version of the film containing scenes approved by North Korea is 60 minutes long, while the "director's cut" featuring unapproved footage is 106 minutes.' North Korea looks like one of Wes Anderson's paper-cut dollhouses. Clean, symmetrical, minimalist, identical. Community above individuality. Walk or die. An order which is beyond fascinating. The other side of the coin of acclaimed documentary "Camp 14: Total control Zone" which shows -with the help of animation- what daily life is like for those who walked a little bit too on the left while the country walked straight. "Under the sun" fiction documentary shows the typical North-Korean family life. Note that the only family time seen spent together is the family rehearsal dinner and the family picture. Children live at school. Parents live on the factory grounds near their work. Hence children can spend more time studying and parents more time at their beloved jobs. During the film, a constant reminder is given by the filmmakers that this is a work of fiction, mise-en-scène of real life in the World's best country, North Korea. The actors are ordinary Korean citizens in-acting their real life roles. The perfectionism of the script and editing gives some subtle cynicism; the camera is rolling between shots for the documentary-feel of the director's cut, while the rest of the "rehearsed" film is pure propaganda. But isn't North Korea just that, one big theatre act? And for those who forget their lines, didn't clap as hard or with enough patriotism, it goes straight to Camp 14. "And the whole of Korea is happy, tramp tramp tramp".
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