The Dictator: The late Kim Jong-il, diminutive Dear Leader of North Korea and target of marionette-based parody The Celebrities: Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee, South Korean movie royalty The Friendship: When most people say they love movies, that usually means a Netflix account and an occasional visit to the multiplex. When Kim Jong-il said he loved movies, he proved it by kidnapping a South Korean director and actress, and then forcing them to make a giant monster movie. Not the same thing as buying the occasional copy of Empire. The director, Shin Sang-ok, was a leading light of South Korean cinema, while Choi Eun-hee, his wife, was one of the countrys biggest stars. In the late 70s, Kim, then serving under his father, intended to revive the North Korean film industry by forcing Sang-ok and Eun-hee to make propaganda movies. The apex of their collaboration was Pulgasari, about a gigantic metal-eating kaiju whogoes around eating metal. If the Japanese Godzilla films (which Kim loved) were already pretty ropy, Pulgasari wasnt any better for being produced under the barrel of a gun. It had exactly the opposite effect intended by its producer- instead of striking fear in the hearts of capitalist audiences, it just made them write snarky blog posts.
Despite Pulgasaris failure, the Dear Leader continued to dabble in cinema, producing and apparently rewriting the screenplay for 2007s The Schoolgirls Diary, another propaganda effort. Owning, as he did, 20,000 videos and DVDs, he clearly understood the power of cinema- but authoritarian control of popular culture meant that the films he oversaw were terrible. Shin Sang-ok, meanwhile, moved to LA to produce the 3 Ninjas franchise. Thats one atrocity we cant pin on Kim.
I am Scotland's 278,000th best export and a self-proclaimed expert on all things Bond-related. When I'm not expounding on the delights of A View to a Kill, I might be found under a pile of Dr Who DVDs, or reading all the answers in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. I also prefer to play Playstation games from the years 1997-1999. These are the things I like.