Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Travel With Vice Magazine: North Korea

As mentioned in a previous post, North Korea sucks ass. And yes I mean the government and not the actual people. Although let's face it, your average North Korean might be a complete dick, but we'd never know because they have that whole "country" locked up tighter than a bank. And I use the term "country" loosely because in actuality, they are more like the Jim Jones cult on a bigger and more world-threatening scale. The evil dwarf that rules over them, does so almost literally like a god. A stumpy, chubby, gnome god who is such a freak over American musical theater, that he personally designed elementary school performances to look like an unholy mix of Gilbert & Sullivan and Triumph of the Will.

There really is no reliable way to get out of North Korea once the govt. wants to keep you there, but it's also pretty hard to get in as well. Shane and the Vice team somehow manage to get themselves a tourist visa into this place and film everything they can. This is literally the Twilight Zone revisited, and by the end of this incredible documentary, you will see firsthand the bleak sadness that dominates life in this oppressive country....
Part One




Part Two




Part Three



This is by far the most fascinating documentary Vice has to offer in my opinion. Even though Shane & Crew present it as humorously and as light hearted as possible, they took a HUGE risk by filming this piece. And I have yet to see a single documentary get a more indepth and accurate picture of what goes on behind the Kim Chee Curtain...  






23 comments:

Body1 said...

Great work! I love the blog style!

$upporting BRO!!

Banacek said...

I have a friend who had to jump through hoops to get into North Korea, too. She really liked it there, though. And she brought me back some tea and chopsticks!

Astronomy Pirate said...

Yeah, I've watched this before. It's a pretty crazy place. I would think it would be hard to accept the reality that their government presents the people with, but people seem to fall for it. If it's the only thing you've ever known, there's no other thought to it. Rather sad.

Meghan Moran said...

Amazing footage. Much respect to the people at Vice for putting their lives on the line to make this documentary.

Leila said...

When they mentioned that it was a horribly convoluted and lengthy process getting confirmation to visit North Korea, I (being the clairvoyant that I am) thought "maybe they're deciding whether they can put up a show or not." What i stated as a joke turned out to be the de facto reality of North Korea. I expected it to have a subtle 1984 look to it, and it did. In fact, I give props to Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il for having been such (horrifyingly) competent dictators that brought to life 1984.

What intrigued me the most was the "modern" music library and the school. I didn't know boom boxes were so modern... along with the anachronistic music and devices. (I wanted to ask the tour of the library what kind of stuff they talk about in those "scientific seminars") If I were the North Koreans, all I would do is spend the night near the DMZ just to see the bright lights shimmering from the iridescent cities of South Korea to get a glimpse of which grass is greener.

Which reminds me... I think Shane and his crew got away with a little too much. They were suspiciously lenient with him for the filming. If I were a civil servant of a totalitarian state, I would immediately confiscate the camera and confine them. Considering that it was all choreographed, it makes me think that they want us to perceive North Korea as the ostentatious and factitious display that it is. Why? I have some theories...

As for the school, those kids are the brightest of the bunch, and yet where is their humanity? They literally look like the automatons I see my Asian friends being coerced into, as well as the direction most education reformers of America are trying to get to. What a price to pay for knowledge! I'm eerily reminded of a modern Faust.

I'm also not surprised at the impoverished look of Pyong Yang. No wonder they have nukes! A country with not so much money can easily acquire nukes if it doesn't spend anything on domestic issues and policies (other than the cheap indoctrination). And the atrocious talk of unification! They don't want unification. They want to conquer and murder their brethren!

What a shame. Korea was once beautiful, so was Japan (now it's the breeding ground for consumerism and urbanization), and for a time, so was China. Before Western interference they thrived on such daoist and philosophical scruples and splendor, when they were still in awe of the aesthetics of nature and simplicity.

Grafted said...

Great post, very interesting

Anonymous said...

This is the second time you have slandered the Korean people with your lies. What about American murders? What about your wish to see all of Korea as slaves?

G said...

IT's a place i'd love to visit...just to see it for myself. But who knows maybe the Tunisian effect will spread

Autumnforest said...

OMG--did you see the one from Africa with people sleeping in emptied graves?

mac-and-me said...

amazing footage

The Reckmonster said...

When I lived in Seoul growing up - we used to find propaganda pamphlets from North Korea on our elementary school playground! It was scary stuff - they had "demonized" pictures/cartoons of American and South Korean leaders - weird stuff to find on your playground, that's for sure! This was on the military post...so I'm still kind of freaked out by how it actually got there. Interesting post!!

ed said...

we (as in americans) should nuke north korea and free the people

Marlene said...

Interesting stuff!

Chris Prendergast said...

Man, i just watched the entire thing. I felt like I was watching a fake movie documentary. It was so surreal that I was witnessing a place that really exists. I really can't believe how sheltered those people are. Why is there no innovation at all? They literally worship their president who's been dead for almost 20 years. What is going on?

Jay said...

this is the documentary that got me into vbs. thanks again for sharing. :)

Leila said...

What the hell with anonymous? Unlike the majority of the oppressed world, not everyone is drunk with blind nationalism or filled with jingoistic echoes for war. And no one slandered the Koreans, only the government which rule under Marxist shibboleth of a communist epoch and blind adulation of totalitarian dictators.

Electric Addict said...

crazy stuff! what great footage

Moob said...

thank you for the post.

Ray Rousell said...

They're a very proud country, but in this day and age it seems their form of government is pretty outdated, one man with total rule always ends with trouble. I must admit I did enjoy the military march on the first clip, you can't do nothing but admire it, it must be very difficult to goose step like that for a long time and keep in time with everyone else. I wouldn't have gone 50 yards before I pulled a hamstring!

Venus said...

Kim Jong looks so funny, I hope his regime ends soon.

Thanks for posting the footage.

The Angry Lurker said...

It's a good documentary from a sad place that I doubt will ever change.

Something Concupiscible said...

I would love to visit North Korea someday.

Melanie said...

Eerie feeling right now...I am speechless.