A Kim Jong-Il production : the extraordinary true story of a kidnapped filmmaker, his star actress, and a young dictator's rise to power

Fischer, Paul

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Paul Fischer
  • Format Books
  • Publication First edition. New York : Flatiron Books, 2015.
  • Physical Details
    • x, 353 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
  • ISBNs 9781250054265, 1250054265, 9781250054289, 9781250054272, 1250054273
  • OCLC ocn881437062


  • "A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, [this book] offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea's history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today"--Amazon.com.
  • Before becoming the world's most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea's Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios. Conceiving every movie made, he acted as producer and screenwriter. Despite this control, he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps, ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun-Hee, South Korea's most famous actress, and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country's most famous filmmaker. It is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader's film advisors. Together they made seven films; pretending to research a film in Vienna, they flee to the U.S. embassy and are swept to safety.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 345-353).


  • Introduction: August, 1982 -- Reel one: a sense of destiny. A photograph on the blue house lawn -- Director Shin & Madame Choi -- Shrimp among whales -- A double rainbow over Mount Paekdu -- Kim Jong Il's first loves -- Fathers and sons -- Inside the Pyongyang picture show -- A three-second kiss -- Repulse bay -- Reel two: guests of the dear leader. The hermit kingdom -- Accused -- Musicals, movies, and ideological studies -- Taken -- The others -- Escape from Chestnut Valley -- Shin Sang-Ok died here -- The torture position -- Division 39 -- The hunger strike -- Director Shin is coming -- Intermission: the people's actress Woo in-Hee -- Reel three: produced by Kim Jong-Il. Together -- The tape recorder -- Lights, camera -- Out of the North -- Like a European movie -- The press conference -- Same bed, different dreams -- A full shooting schedule -- The rubber monster -- Vienna -- From Kim to Kim -- The stars and stripes -- Epilogue: 2013 -- Afterword
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