Since the division of North and South Korea, the DPRK has been producing films mainly through the Korean Film Studio. This is located in Pyongyang and, until recently, was a place where tourists can visit and walk around.
If you’re looking to understand North Korea better, including how its culture and politics works, watching a few North Korean movies is a great way to do this. So where should you begin?
We give you a start here with our top 5 North Korean movies.
Probably one of the most famous North Korean movies, The Flower Girl is a classic in the North Korean film world. Also popular abroad, this film also won the Karlov Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.
This movie came out in 1972 and was created by Kim Il Sung. It tells the story of a girl from a poor family who lives in a rural city in Japanese-occupied Korea. In order to pay for her mother’s medical bills, she must sell flowers.
2. Comrade Kim Goes Flying
A joint Belgian-British-North Korean production set and filmed in Pyongyang. It is a romantic comedy that tells an inspirational story.
It tells the story of Comrade Kim Yong Mi, North Korean coal miner. Her dream of becoming a trapeze artist is crushed by the arrogant trapeze star Pak Jang Phil who believes miners belong underground and not in the air.
But she doesn’t give up…
Read more about Comrade Kim Goes Flying here.
3. Hong Kil Dong (홍길동)
Hong Kil Dong is based on a Korean book written in the 16th century. It is a martial arts film that tells the story of an illegitimate son of a nobleman called Kil Dong. Not recognised by his father, he is forced to leave home, when he is then attacked by bandits. He is then saved by a martial arts master who teaches him how to fight.
4. Pulgsari (불가사리)
Perhaps one of North Korea’s most infamous films, it is a Godzilla style film set in medieval times. It was directed by Shin Sang-ok and partially filmed in Beijing. The film tells the story of a group of villagers who are oppressed by the governor who owns their land. An imprisoned blacksmith creates a monster who then comes to life and reeks havoc.
This film was also released commercially in Japan.
5. The Story of Our Home (우리 집 이야기)
This North Korean movie was produced in 2016 and is based on a true story. It stars Paek Sol Mi and was directed by Ri Yun Ho. It tells the story of an 18-year-old girl caring for orphaned children who then goes on to dedicate her entire life to it.
The Story of Our Home won the top prize in the Pyongyang Film Festival.