The Lovers & the Despot 2016
98 mins United Kingdom Director. Rob Cannan, Ross Adam
Discover one of cinema’s strangest stories: the true tale of a famous film director and his star muse, kidnapped by movie-obsessed dictator Kim Jong-il to make movies in the world’s weirdest state. Director Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee were the golden couple of South Korean cinema, linchpins of the movie business and happily married until their glamorous marriage collapsed. Then in the late 1970s, both disappeared within months of each other only to surface again years later in North Korea, charged with establishing a national cinema on behalf of Kim Jong-il.
Collated from hours of fascinating archive clips, audio recordings of Dear Leader Kim (recorded by the couple at great risk), and startling clips from some incredible Korean productions (including Shin’s notorious remake of Godzilla), The Lovers and the Despot is an utterly irresistible documentary structured as a Cold War thriller.