May 22, 2024

North Korean cinematography’s successful debut

Oddly, a competently made 1949 film preceeded decades of North Korean cinematic schlock

During a visit to Pyongyang in 2014, while searching for the available copies of North Korean films, I noticed that the earliest films on sale in the local stores belonged to the “golden era” of North Korean cinema of the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. I could not blame North Korea shop managers for this preference; outdated technique and ideological stiffness leave most North Korean films produced before the 1980s almost unwatchable.

There was one important exclusion, however. In addition to the regular objects of pride among the North Korean filmmaking industry, such as Broad Bell-Flower and Wolmido, most Pyongyang shops were also selling My Home Village (Nae Kohyang), the first North Korean feature film, produced in 1949.

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