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Film: North Korea: Beyond the DMZ
February 12, 2004

Thursday, February 12, 7:00 p.m., Wang Center Theatre. Discussion with directors J.T. Takagi and Hye Jung Park to follow.

Photo: Loisa LewisAs nuclear tensions mount, this revealing and timely one-hour documentary follows a Korean-American woman to one of the most mysterious, and demonized, countries on earth: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The program presents not only an alternative look at this so-called "evil empire," but also a more human one — a view that has rarely been presented to American audiences.

The film follows Jikyung, a young Korean-American New Yorker, who was raised to fear North Korea. In search of family still living in the North, Jukyung travels through a land little known or understood in the West.

North Korea: Beyond the DMZ situates North Korea within the tortuous Cold War history that Koreans and Americans share. The documentary intercuts Jikyung's tour of the D.P.R.K. with scenes of a family's daily life in Pyongyang. Along the way, Jikyung and the viewer get some understanding of the underlying philosophy and leadership loyalty which has somehow kept North Korea alive when so many other communist countries have collapsed.

The famine of the 1995-2000 period and the current nuclear crisis are also covered. In contrast with the mainstream media, all sides are presented. Using archival materials from both North Korea and the United States, interviews with individuals, scholars and experts in the North and the U.S., and animated historical sections, North Korea: Beyond the DMZ is both the story of a personal journey and the record of a turbulent past and present.

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