April 01, 2023

“Do you envy it?” Why North Korean movies urged the people to idealize city life

In DPRK culture, modern technology always means happiness

What has always startled me about North Koreans inside and outside their country is their remarkable adaptability to new technology. Progressists to the marrow of their bones, they seem to accept enthusiastically and unconditionally computer gadgets and pesticides, mobile phones and crystal meth, showing no sign of resistance or trace of conservatism. In the North Korean mindset, the old is bad, the new is good: period.

Leaving aside the question of whether this uncritical embrace of the new is always good, this attitude is also reflected in North Korean cultural discourse, which espouses a staunch belief in technological progress.