May 22, 2022

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North Korea on the silver screen: How South Korean films portray the DPRK

Depictions of the rival state have evolved over the decades along with changes in the ROK’s politics and film industry

For many years, North Korea and the Kim family leaders have dominated headlines about the Korean Peninsula, as the wider world has gawked at the DPRK’s anachronistic oddness or fretted about its nuclear and missile development programs.

All that’s changing, as South Korean content enjoys unprecedented levels of popularity abroad. Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became the most-watched YouTube video ever in the 2010s, Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2020 and “Squid Game” took the world by storm to become Netflix’s most viewed series earlier this year.