RT takes an exclusive look at North Korea, the world’s most closed-off country. Life here is isolated from the outside world and every aspect of existence is regulated by order of the “Great Leader”, from the art you’re allowed to see, the books you can read, even to your hairstyle.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is perhaps the least known country in the world today. Based on a political ideology known as ‘Juche’, the socialist government controls every source of information and the national leader, Kim Jong-un, preserves the peace and defends the state’s historical, spiritual and cultural heritage. It’s hard to overestimate the Commander-in-chief’s role in the country: his likeness adorns the streets and squares in every city and village. Through official portraits and statues, he is, literally, everywhere and kindergarten children are taught to sing his praises. Locals adore Kim Jong-un and consider him the Father of the Nation, he encourages everyone to be patriotic and surpass all other nations.
Almost 15% of North Korea’s GDP is reserved for military spending, and long after the Korean War of the 1950s, the country has still not signed a peace treaty with its capitalist southern neighbor. As a result, thousands of families were torn apart by the political divide. The army remains a source of inspiration; it determinates the social structure and stimulates ordinary people to devote their lives to work in the faithful service of the Marshal. The people believe that this military ideology consolidates national spirit and guarantees stability and order.
However, not even tough military methods and an ideological barrier around the country can solve the economic lag or the enormous social and economic gulf between South and North Korea. Self-reliance and self-sufficiency are in stark contrast to the economic reality. Despite developments in labour cooperation, a demilitarized zone, demarcated by a huge wall between the two states, is still amongst the most heavily armed areas in the world.
President of the Korean Friendship Association, Alejandro Cao de Benos explains that due to the generally accepted ideology of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the people will never understand nor accept a western mind-set. From childhood, they are taught to be loyal to their leader and to beware of western values.
For most viewers North Korea remains a mystery but this unique film offers a limited window of opportunity to view Korean lifestyle through the prism of North Korean peoples’ every day cares and joys. RT Doc meets ordinary workers and soldiers to hear first hand, how they lived before being isolated from the whole world.
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