Under the Sun | Chicago Reader

Under the Sun

Given a government-approved script and followed everywhere by minders, director Vitaly Mansky attempts to document the life of a "typical" North Korean family in Pyongyang. Long shots of socialist statuary and architecture lend an eerie solemnity to this 2015 film, much of whose action has been staged or otherwise manipulated; scenes are repeatedly halted so the family members can be coached on how to deliver their lines, and the parents' occupations have been changed to make them better exemplars of communism. Aside from a few explanatory captions, the film is opaque; it may not be the uplifting propaganda piece the government wanted, but it lacks enough perspective to reveal what life in North Korea is truly like. In Korean with subtitles.

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