A Kim Jong-Il Production The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2015-02-03
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books
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"The 1978 abductions of the South Korean actress Choi-Eun-hee and her ex-husband, the director Shin Sang-ok, in Hong Kong is the true crime at the center of Paul Fischer's gripping and surprisingly timely new book."
-The New York Times

Before becoming the world's most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea's Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios. Conceiving every movie made, he acted as producer and screenwriter. Despite this control, he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps, ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun-Hee (Madam Choi)-South Korea's most famous actress-and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country's most famous filmmaker.

Madam Choi vanished first. When Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate, he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea. Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury, allowed only to attend the Dear Leader's dinner parties. Shin, meanwhile, tried to escape, was sent to prison camp, and "re-educated." After four years he cracked, pledging loyalty. Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends, it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader's film advisors. Together they made seven films, in the process gaining Kim Jong-Il's trust. While pretending to research a film in Vienna, they flee to the U.S. embassy and are swept to safety.

A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, author Paul Fischer's A Kim Jong-Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea's history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today.

Author Biography

PAUL FISCHER is a film producer who studied social sciences at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris and film at the University of Southern California and the New York Film Academy. Paul’s first feature film, the documentary Radioman, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Doc NYC film festival and was released to critical and commercial acclaim. A Kim Jong-Il Production is his first book.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters
Introduction - August 1982
Reel One: A Sense of Destiny
1. A Photograph on the Blue House Lawn
2. Director Shin and Madame Choi
3. Shrimp Among Whales
4. A Double Rainbow over Mount Paekdu
5. Kim Jong-Il's First Loves
6. Fathers and Sons
7. Inside the Pyongyang Picture Show
8. A Three-Second Kiss
9. Repulse Bay
Reel Two: Guests of the Dear Leader
10.The Hermit Kingdom
11. Accused
12. Muscials, Movies, and Ideological Studies
13. Taken
14. The Others
15. Escape from Chestnut Valley
16. Shin Sang-Ok Died Here
17. The Torture Position
18. Division 39
19. The Hunger Strike
20. Director Shin is Coming
Intermission: The People's Actress
Reel Three: Produced by Kim Jong-Il
21. Together
22. The Tape Recorder
23. Lights, Camera
24. Out of the North
25. Like a European Movie
26. The Press Conference
27. Same Bed, Different Dreams
28. A Full Shooting Schedule
29. The Rubber Monster
30: Vienna
31. Military First / From Kim to Kim
32. The Stars and Stripes
Epilogue - 2013

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