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Under the Sun

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
North Korea,
110 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Natalya Manskaya, Simone Baumann, Filip Remunda
Vitaly Mansky
Kārlis Auzāns
Alexandra Ivanova, Mikhail Gorobchuk
Andrej Paperny
Vitaly Mansky
Evgeniya Lachina, Anrijs Krenbergs
North Korea wants to be the best of all possible worlds. Everything and everyone is taken care off. Pyongyang is a clean, modern metropolis. 8-year-old Zin-mi, who is at the centre of this film, takes us through the stations of a happy childhood: becoming a member of the pioneer organisation, brisk flag ceremonies, enough food and always a song in praise of the Great Leader Kim Jong-un on her lips.

Russian-Ukrainian director Vitaly Mansky got the official permission to document the ordinary life of the city and country for one year. He knows that he is being instrumentalised and simply turns the tables by exposing how the presentations and arrangements are fabricated. His official minder proves to be a real “co-director”. So it’s the apparent details and minor matters Mansky asks us to discover. They offer insights into a well-trained and dulled society. Though we feel like we’re in “1984”, Mansky has come neither as a voyeur nor as a cynic. His camera is looking for the human element behind the mask of the official bulletins: a yawn or a moment of insecurity in this land of the ever-rising sun.

Cornelia Klauß