Release date:March 19, 2010
N.C. Heikin's unblinking indictment of life in North Korea under the dictatorship of Kim Jong Il. This searing examination of the communist dictatorship established by Kim Il-sung and continued today by his son Kim Jong-il dispels the illusion of a Worker's Paradise peddled by the North Korean government and exposes the injustice, tragedy and famine that has prevailed over the past forty years. Heikin compiles a series of testimonies – and daring escape stories – from concentration camp refugees, to defectors to former Korean Army officers. The result is a collage of firsthand witnesses to the unrepentant pain caused by a tyrannical leadership. The courageous individuals documented here have risked everything in the hope of exposing the truth about this cloistered, xenophobic territory. Their testimonies are supplemented by interpretive dance and a riveting score, indicative of the filmmakers keen interest in Korean art – both the propagandistic genre sanctioned by the government and the forbidden artistic expression that can result in execution. Footage of cheery government agitprop is juxtaposed with survivor testimonies and cold, hard facts. The film's practice of exposing the truth through ironic exhibition extends to its title, "Kimjongilia," being the name of the gorgeous red flower symbol created to celebrate Kim Jong Il's 46th birthday. This feature-length documentary is a damning condemnation of a regime founded upon total oppression of its people.