December 03, 2021

Labor of love: the Cheollima movement in North Korean film

From the 1950s to the 1980s, DPRK cinema extolled the ideological benefits of hard work

When Elena Berman, a Soviet citizen and the wife of the North Korean dramatist So Man Il, prepared to give birth to her son in a Pyongyang maternity hospital in 1959, she had a very unusual concern.

It was not the insufficiency of the doctors’ skills or the lack of necessary medical equipment (curiously enough, she found these to be quite satisfactory), but the permanent exhaustion of the nurses.