10 Days in North Korea

10 Days in North Korea

2014, Society  -   17 Comments
Ratings: 6.79/10 from 137 users.

10 Days in North Korea takes the audience on a trip around Pyongyang, the focal point of power for the North Korean regime, to speak with citizens of what the filmmakers consider a very interesting "social experiment" that has been going on for about seventy years.

The film kicks off by demonstrating the allegiance of the Pyongyang workforce - interviews with an accomplished biologist and a few factory workers convey a genuine high opinion of "Grand Marshal" Kim Jong-un and enthusiasm towards contributing to the regime's collective productivity. The terminology used to describe the government's control over their daily lives is they are being "protected."

Attention then turns to Jong-un and the regime's militaristic approach to rule, touching on the strict prison system and last year's widely-publicized execution of Jong-un's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, and his entire family for treason and an alleged attempt to stage a military coup that would have dethroned Jong-un.

In what is hard to perceive by an outside as anything more than pro-regime propaganda, a number of historic sites and annual military cache demonstrations are in place to assure the North Korean citizens of the government's supposed military prowess. An annual "victory parade" is conducted each year to celebrate The Democratic People's Republic of Korea military victory over the United States and the reunification of North and South Korea.

Still tied together in name, the North and South Koreas have grown apart in many ways under their supposed unified state, with even the languages spoken beginning to drift apart. The filmmakers showcase numerous families with members living on opposite sides of the border that are chosen by lottery and granted three short days to meet family members they have never been permitted to see.

In a supposed demilitarized zone on the North Korean side of the border, we speak with Kim Chang Yun, a colonel in the Korean People's Army, about a five-meter high wall on the Korean side of the border that was completed in 1979. He claims the wall is a symbol of efforts by the United States and the South to prevent unification of the two sides. His viewpoints mirror that of the sheltered citizens, one that accepts a false self-reliant utopia crippled by a controlling government willingly deceiving and exploiting a people that have been brainwashed from birth to not question that authority.

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17 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Peter JC

    What if they do like their way of life, what makes us so arrogant to think that everyone wants what we have in the west?

    1. lindsay

      You can't be that s*upid. there are TONS of defectors that talk about the horrendous, oppressive regime, the absolute and complete lack of any kind of freedom whatsoever, the starvation and the constant fear of punishment in not only the concentration camps, but of being sent to live outside of the capital Pyongyang, where virtually everyone is starving to death and surviving on tree barks and grass. There are many defectors who still go back and risk their lives to help other North Koreans and there is lots of hidden footage that you can watch online, as well (a lot of them are on youtube) of gut-wrenching images of dirty children that are positively delirious from hunger and dying right in front of your eyes, as well as high-ranking members of the government (with their faces blotted out) that mock the regime. These people CANNOT say what they really feel on camera. the defectors do, though. and many of them were guards or high-ranking government officials that talk about the absolute atrocities and how they KNEW that their country was f*cked up and a totalitarian state run on fear, intimidation, dictatorship and tyranny-but they dared not say anything! These people are miserable and desperate for freedom, food and a chance at a real life, which is why so many of them risk their lives to try to get out of that god-forsaken place , despite being tortured and executed if sent back. one woman said that when the "dear leader" died, people spit in their hands and rubbed it under their eyes to make it seem like they were crying and devastated, because as always, the government was watching to see who was showing what they thought was the proper emotion. These people cannot say what they really feel on camera- that they know NK is not normal by any stretch of the imagination, and are desperate to get out! The ones that actually DO think they like the way they live have nothing to compare it to and have no idea how the outside world lives because the regime keeps them brainwashed and isolated. I suggest you do more research on the subject.

  2. Lizzy

    Does anyone know where I can get the transcript of the videos?

  3. Fabian

    Did anyore read Camp 14? That is Korea

    1. UnsentPhoenix

      Camp 14 was about a total control zone prison camp larger than Los Angeles, iirc. It's way worse than the actual state of North Korea, which is admittedly one of the most f--ked up places on Earth. Camp 14 is part of Korea, but I wouldn't say it IS Korea.

  4. David Sciortino

    Korea is strong to resist our way of living. The movie The Interview was a first move from the united states to make a mockery of them as well as their fake hack stunt on Sony to put Korea back on the terrorist list. Another war is brewing. Not one with just North Korea. You should know this before you enlist your poor children to wars that are planned ahead.

    Korea costs the Usa too much with 26k troop in the south. It was a needed stunt on the govts part.

  5. bexy11

    This was a sad "documentary." The citizens who were interviewed spoke so positively of their government and lives because to tell the truth would mean death to them and all their relatives. That's how it works in North Korea. People say what they're supposed to say and do what they're supposed to do only because they don't want to die.

    There are plenty of books and documentaries out there that tell the REAL story of life in North Korea, by people who actually lived it. Escape from Camp 14, the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, was the most eye-opening story to me. There are many others though.

    Please know that this "documentary" will NOT educate you at all to what life is like in North Korea.

  6. Cédric Petit

    This documentary is a complete joke. No surprise it's made by a news channel funded by a country that imprisons these same North Koreans in labor camps on their own territory.

  7. Amber

    What an odd place to live :S

  8. FollowTheFacts

    ....I liked this documentary...helps expand on one's understanding. Personally I couldn't live there, since I can't adhere to anything...the level of indoctrination is of course amazing, but...so it is in the US, and other "western" places...plus, there is no honor or dignity in the west anymore, so who are we to speak...? They at least have dignity....
    If it wasn't for the US, the two Koreas would be one...and one powerful entity that would be...

    1. Cosmo

      But still dwarfed by China.

    2. bexy11

      The people who were interviewed in this doc were saying what they're required to say. If they were to tell the truth about how horrible life is there, they would be killed. If you believed the things this doc reported, then it did not expand on your understanding. It wasn't at all a depiction of what life is like there.

    3. FollowTheFacts

      ....Thank you for your comment – you can watch a documentary in different ways – it isn't about "believing" (I'm not a "believer"), it is about "observing" and analyzing. – Every documentary, no matter how good or vapid will "expand" one's view(s). – For you to suggest what you do in your comment makes me wonder about your age... ("...they would be killed...")
      What do we know about the US today – well, we do know that whatever the government asserts, is taken as gospel by the vast majority of Americans, and you would seem to lend credence to that...
      I have seen several attempts by US news crews to report about life in North Korea and they have all failed to show the horror that supposedly is the reality there...I have no doubt that there are "darker sides" to life in NK, but that's true about the US as well, isn't it.
      The North Koreans have every reason to fear the US, but the US does not have any reason to fear North Korea and no right to interfere with their existence. The reason there is a North Korea is because the US does not want the Korean peoples to reunite...
      I live in Los Angeles, California – a police state that practices torture (in its prisons). You just don't read about it in the media (since it would go against how Americans are expected to view themselves), but that doesn't make it any less true.

  9. Richard Neva

    All that glitters is not gold!

  10. coolbeans

    this documentary is total junk. we all know what goes on in north korea I cant believe they are still putting this kind of s*** on tv. what a joke. check out vice news version of this, breaks this garbage in pieces.

    1. Madeline

      I agree. Its what the guy says last on this documentary that sums it all up. "Anyone's guess what North Korea really is"

    2. Soya beans

      The North Koreans has been massacred by the Japanese during the Japanese war and again massacred by the Americans during the Korean war at no fault of theirs. Now they are armed to the teeth not to have it happened again. Let's not hate but lets get along. Do not impose to others the way you live.