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The Lovers & the Despot

The Lovers & the Despot PG rating

Discover one of cinema’s strangest stories: a film director and his star are kidnapped by Kim Jong-il to make movies in the world’s weirdest state.

Documentary 2016 98 mins

Director: Ross Adam

CC

Overview

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.

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