September 27, 2023

Too good to be true: North Korean films that double as propaganda for the South

While aimed at discouraging defection, a pair of DPRK films counterproductively exaggerates South Korea’s wealth

It used to be that official North Korean propaganda left no doubts about which Korea was the better place to live.

In the 1960s and 70s, films like “On the Way of Growth” and “Fates of Kumhui and Unhui” presented a contrast between the modernized and developed North and the dirty and archaic South. South Korean characters dream of moving to the prosperous North, and only fully armed U.S. border guards prevent them from crossing the demilitarized zone immediately.