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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
See full technical specs »
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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
See more »

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User Reviews

An engaging documentary
15 October 2017 | by Gordon-11See all my reviews

This documentary film tells the remarkable ordeal of a famous South Korean actress and a film director, who were kidnapped by North Korea in 1970's to strengthen the North Korean film industry. The actress recounts her multi-year ordeal, together with interviews from multiple people and the film director's voice recordings to tell the world their experience.

"The Lovers & the Despot" is a well executed documentary. It appears comprehensive, as it has extended interviews by Choi, Choi's children, US government officials, international film critics and even a Hong Kong police officer. It tells a horrible story of kidnapping, brainwashing and torture. It must have taken them great courage to speak up on record against the most secretive regime in the world. It is engaging and captures me throughout. Even though it is comprehensive, I am quite sure it only scratches the surface of what they have gone through in North Korea.


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