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The Lovers & the Despot (2016)

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The story of the South Korean actor, Choi Eun-hee, and her ex-husband and film director, Shin Sang-ok, who were individually kidnapped and reunited by dictator and film fan Kim Jong-il to force them to develop North Korea's film industry.

Directors:

Ross Adam, Robert Cannan
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Eun-hie Choi Eun-hie Choi ... Herself
Paul Courtenay Hyu Paul Courtenay Hyu ... Shin Sang-ok
Sang-ok Shin Sang-ok Shin ... Himself (voice)
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Storyline

In 1970s South Korea, actor Choi Eun-hee and her ex-husband, film director Shin Sang-ok, were divorced, estranged and both struggling with stalled careers. Unfortunately, both their lives seemed changed forever when they were individually kidnapped in 1978 by their biggest fan, Kim Jong-il, despot of North Korea. With persuasion and brute force, the movie obsessed Kim planned to use them to develop the Hermit Kingdom's film industry and get it out of its mindless propaganda mentality. Through the words of Choi, their family, associates and US intelligence personnel, you will follow the story of the bizarre slavery of this couple even as they rediscovered their love and secretly gathered evidence of the dictator's crimes. All the while, they struggled to play along with the world's most dangerous film geek as they desperately planned their escape. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They were kidnapped by their biggest fan.


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

UK

Language:

Korean | English | Japanese

Release Date:

23 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Liebenden und der Diktator See more »

Filming Locations:

Seoul, South Korea

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,925, 25 September 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$55,180, 30 October 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Features The Forty-First (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Moonlight Romance
Written by Tony Osborne
Courtesy of West One Music Group
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User Reviews

 
A cinematic mystery
2 April 2017 | by paul2001sw-1See all my reviews

To outsiders, the North Korean government seems not just cruel but downright bizarre, no more so than in this story of the time that Kim Jong-il, then heir apparent to the Presidency, allegedly kidnapped two famous people from South Korea's film industry so that North Korea could outshine its neighbour. Some said they went willingly: what is less ambiguously true is that they did indeed make films for their "dear leader", and in the end fled, in fear of their lives. It's a very odd tale, although actress Eun-hie Choi tells her side of it convincingly. But although as defectors the protagonists provided western intelligence with their best view yet into the mind of Kim, he remains mostly an inscrutable figure, whose true intentions (and grasp of reality) we can only guess at.


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