LiNK Review is a segment in the LiNK Texas blog where we share books and movies that we have watched and give our reasons as to why we think you should watch them.
For one of our general meetings, LiNK Texas had a screening of “DPRK: The Land of Whispers,” an award winning documentary created by Etherium Sky in 2013. The documentary gives insight that we rarely see in North Korea as the documenter Chrystian Cohen visits North Korea and records his findings and experience.
The documentary begins by stating how Chrystian began this journey. When he arrives to North Korea he is told three rules during his stay, which were:
1. No footage of Korean comrades
-No one was allowed to take photos or record Korean citizens.
2. Respect the press
-Any newspaper with pictures of leaders Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il are to be kept unfolded and properly handled in respect for them.
3. Filming should be realistic
-Photos or videos taken of historic pictures should be taken at a lower angle and of the full image
However, Chrystian tried to respect their wishes but also do his best to also fulfill his duties for the purpose of the documentary.
Throughout his exploration of North Korea, Chrystian notes how most of the places he visits are empty of people. Even as he walked by a grocery store he notices how the shelves are empty and the fruit on display was plastic. When he did get a chance to be around the citizens, they would shyly stare at him. However, at historic environmental locations such as Heaven Lake, where Kim Jong Il was born, tourists were willing to interact with Chrystian and take photos until guides broke up the festivities.
What I found interesting about the documentary is that Chrystiancomments throughout the film how the places he is usually taken to are places that give off the image of North Korea as this thriving country. When he asked tour guides some questions, they refused to answer. He is even taken to the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium where he watched an amazing performance by a total of 100,000 performers.
I recommend you watch this documentary if you want to get a glimpse into what it would be like to see what visiting North Korea would be like in this time of day. This documentary also takes the focus off of the stereotypical information that most people know North Korea for by showing the North Korean people just living happy lives in a country that whispers secrets of freedom.