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Meeting N. Korea on the screen in Bucheon international film festival

Meeting N. Korea on the screen in Bucheon international film festival

Posted July. 17, 2018 07:58,   

Updated July. 17, 2018 07:58


At 8 p.m. on Sunday, the 22nd Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) held the first public movie screening of a North Korean film in South Korea at the Bucheon City Hall square.

The movie “The Story of Our Home,” which received the best film award at the 2016 Pyongyang International Film Festival, is a relatively recent film produced under the Kim Jong Un regime. This is the first time that a North Korean film was screened publicly in South Korea as North Korea films were rated “Restricted Screening,” which only allows people to see the movie though a separate permission.

“The Story of Our Home” is a story about a 15-year-old girl, who takes care of her two siblings after she lost her parents. Eun Jong is a straight A student but her grades start to fall because she is so busy taking care of her siblings. But she refuses the helping hand of others because of her high ego. One day she meets a girl in her neighborhood, “Jong A.” She gives unconditional love to Eun Jong, making her grow up and realize love.

The tone of the movie in the beginning is relatively ordinary and humorous. About 200 people came to watch the movie. Some people put down a mat on the grass and drank beer while watching the movie with an expression‎ of curiosity and smile on their face.

The audience burst into laughter when Jong A said to Eun Jong, “Study until you die. No one died from studying.” Scenes where the characters spun around in a circle holding their hands or clumsy flashbacks made the audience laugh, too. But some said they were disappointed when the movie was used as a propaganda tool in the latter part with characters repeatedly mentioning “Dear Leader.”

This screening was the first cultural exchange activity between the two Koreas after the April 27 inter-Korean summit. BIFAN recently received permission to screen North Korean movies from the North’s Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, following the permission of the Ministry of Unification of South Korea early this year.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com