Tuesday, November 30, 2004



The North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has a passion for cinema. But he could never find a director to realise his vision. So he kidnapped one from the South, jailed him and fed him grass, then forced him to shoot a socialist Godzilla.
The Producer From Hell The Guardian, April 4, 2003

...and let me tell you, if some sucker-punching Communist dictator ever tried to pull that crap on me, I'd set fire to his head and tell the bodyguards that his Grecian 2000 had overheated.

So, it appears from the various articles I've read on the matter that, in 1978, the North Koreans abducted one Shin San-Ok, a respected South Korean film director, and his actress wife, Choi Eun-hee.

The reason? To make films, of course. Duh!

After a few difficulties settling in (Shin spent four years in an all-male prison camp after an attempt to escape), the couple were given privileged status and, before slipping their "minders" during a trip to Vienna in 1986 and bolting for the American embassy, they made, amongst other things, Pulgasari: a social parable based on the Godzilla series.

And this is Pulgasari.

Being a huge fan of the ideologically skewed Communist ripoff of Godzilla made under duress by an abductee film genre, I've wanted to see this ever since I read the Guardian article many moons ago. Happily, if there's one place on Earth where you're guaranteed to be able to lay hands on a copy (other than the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, of course), that place is Japan.

Yes, viewers- I tracked down Pulgasari in my local video store today and, when Mike gets back from work, I'm going to watch it.

And then I'll let you know what I think.

Wow, that was everything I expected and less besides. Another of my life goals achieved. Goodnight.

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