September 26, 2022

Film review: The problem with inter-Korean rivalry in ‘Escape from Mogadishu’

Box office hits glosses over North Korea’s complex history in Third World and is riddled with stereotypes about Africa

The South Korean film “Escape from Mogadishu” tells the story of North and South Korean diplomats fleeing war-torn Mogadishu during the Somali Civil War in 1991. While the film has done well at the box office, it falls victim to myths of inter-Korean solidarity and stereotypes of African backwardness.

The action-adventure thriller begins with an account of the two Koreas dueling it out for diplomatic recognition in newly independent African countries. Both Seoul and Pyongyang send diplomats to Somalia and take part in corruption, bribery and propaganda.