Kim Jung-un’s communist dictatorship has been the focus of unquenchable Western fascination for years, despite the almost total absence of footage and testimonies from inside the country. Now Spanish documentary filmmaker Álvaro Longoria has become one of the few filmmakers permitted to operate there.
Although his visit is facilitated by a declared regime sympathiser, Longaria is shrewd enough to declare and even exploit his imposed restrictions, realising that even in fully stage-managed mode the citizens of North Korea cannot help but reveal home-truths. The result is an absorbing account of life in the world’s most mysterious state; an exposé that fascinates both for the revelations it unfolds and for the glaring omissions, which disclose by their absence. And by investigating the wider geopolitical manoeuvring that informs the country’s continuing containment, Longaria’s film also asks if Western media plays the propaganda game just as readily as North Korea.