The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a country with a very strong social cohesion and the unprecedented admiration of the people for their leader, which is absolutely unique and incomprehensible especially from a Western point of view. The native Korean director Sung-Hyung Cho tries to understand this by accompanying several Koreans from different backgrounds in their daily lives. The film shows the country and its people in a way, as it is rarely done in Western media, non-judgmental and respectful towards the people.
This film has most likely been one of the most interesting and appreciated documentaries I have watched this year. And not at all due to huge innovations on form, aestethic approaches, political positions or any other megalomaniac distinction of the sort. I do not really think it may be considered an innovative film strictus sense, and even though I can barely describe the enjoyment of what I have seen.
The documentary’s approach is, on the contrary of all mentioned, very simple. And it is within such simplicity that I found a greater pleasure, and most of all, a greater, say, compassion with peoples and cultures that, until now, I had only seen stereotyped and awfully retracted, be it by the ordinary and superficial press, be it by some disastrous and disgusting films such as The Interview.
Differently from those forms of representation, this film really tries to see and understand the people of North Korea: their stories, their lifestyle, theis beliefs, their dogmas, themselves as a whole. It is almost as if the dirctor was trying to say that, despite whatever politics may be envolved, despite all the history and al the issues involving North Korea, this country is still inhabited by human beings, by people who deserve to be seen and heard, and most of all, treated as equals to the rest of the world.
By saying that I do not mean that in no momento whatsoever has the director exposed her point of view on the political status of the country, or given the film a sometimes subtle, sometimes visible western view. It should be impossible not to. The core – and the richness – of this documentary, however, lies on the fact that she sees them as more than just tools belonging to the dictatorship of Kim Jong-Un, or as an exotic figure portrayed by the West, but as humans, as people, as Brothers and Sisters.
— Paulo Mello (Letterboxd)
Subtitles:English, German (muxed)