Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What I'm Reading

I'd recently heard an interview with the author of this book on NPR and was very intrigued by his trip. Guy Delisle is a French-Canadian animator that went to North Korea in 2001 to supervise the animation of a kid's TV series there. While there he kept a diary and took sketches and they morphed into this book. North Korea is a fascinating country right now because it's people are so insulated from the rest of the world and hear only what their "Glorious Leader" Kim Jong-Il wants to tell them. Every single pop song on their one radio station sings their Leader's praises and they are taught that America will attack them any minute.

Delisle also serves as a great narrator for this story since he doesn't want to offend, but he still wants to challenge all of the bullshit that is slung at him. It's interesting to see how far you can go when you're visiting a dictatorship that desperately wants and needs the money your company is supplying the country. Unfortunately, Deliesle is unable to pry and significant candor out of his contacts, but you're left to wonder if they have any knowledge about how much they're being lied to. At one point Guy takes notice that he hasn't seen anyone in a wheel-chair during his trip and he asks his guide why that is. His guide's answer is simple, there are no handicapped people in North Korea, all children of North Korea are born strong and healthy. I'm afraid of what type of existential crisis this country faces when it's government inevitable collapses and they are exposed to the world that they have been shielded from since 1953?


Spencer Carnage said...

I recently watched a show about a large group of North Korean that were given corrective eye surgery. As soon as pulled the bandages off of their eyes, they all got on their knees and praised their crazy ass president. From the sound of things, its backwards as all hell over there.

A good movie to watch regarding the North-South relations is JSA, Joint Security Agency. Its directed by the guy who did Old Boy and its about 4 soldiers, 2 from the north and 2 from the south, secretly becoming friends. The Northern soldiers marvel over the moonpies that the Southern soldiers give them, but when asked to defect, they said up defiantly and state that they hope that someday North Korea will make the best moonpies in the world. Throw in a murder mystery and you have yourself one damn good movie.

Jason said...

You know, I saw that at the video store, and I wrote it off as another random asian action pic. I'll throw it on the ol' Netflix queue.

After reading this book, I'm going to have to hunt down some more reading on North Korea because it's just so amazing. It's funny until you realize that this is life for millions of people, and then it gets very sad and scarry.

pachoob said...