Pyongyang International Cinema
North Korea's Strange Film Festival

In today's print and online editions the Los Angeles Times there is a fascinating and humorous look at the Pyongyang International Film Festival (formerly the "Film Festival of Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries"). Reporter Barbara Demick provides a peek under the veil secrecy of how the ten day festival is organized and how various western films make the cut. These foreign (to North Korea) films are extremely popular and, indeed, the screenings for the recent British films ATONEMENT and ELIZABETH I: THE GOLDEN AGE were so crowded that guards at the festival had to bar the theater doors.

Not surprisingly Hollywood films are not among the entries in the festival (so, no matter how many seasons Entourage runs on HBO, it is unlikely there will ever be a storyline in which the gang flogs a Vincent Chase film in Pyongyang).

In case you were wondering, the Chinese war film ASSEMBLY by director Feng Xiaogang took top honors at this year's festival. Unless we missed it, this win slipped by the editors at Variety...







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