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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

UNDER THE SUN

4:10

Must End Tuesday, August 9

DIRECTED BY VITALY MANSKY

A rare glimpse of everyday life in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang: Zin-Mi is an adorable 8-year-old girl, who, as she prepares to join the prestigious Children’s Union, participates in colorful, joyous patriotic school pageants, eats delicious evening meals at her family’s well-appointed apartment, and is doted on by her attractive parents who work in model factories that regularly exceed their production targets. Sounds too good to be true? Of course it is. Russian director Vitaly Mansky reveals the fraud behind the “documentary.” Government handlers script the family’s conversations (are they even her parents? could this possibly be their home?), constantly demanding re-takes infused with greater joy and patriotic zeal. This jaw-dropping peek at North Korea has been described as “surreal and sinister… a real-life version of THE TRUMAN SHOW” - Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter.

RUSSIA / LATVIA / GERMANY / CZECH REPUBLIC / NORTH KOREA • 2015 • 106 MINS.
IN KOREAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES • ICARUS FILMS

Reviews

Watch stories about the film on BBC and CNN.

“Critic’s Pick. The Russian director Vitaly Mansky spent almost a year in Pyongyang, North Korea…the views of Pyongyang he came back with, featured in his film UNDER THE SUN, are startling and chilling… The autocratic kitsch can be intimidating and hilarious at the same time…”
– Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“CHILLING. Shocking.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Profoundly disturbing. The most paranoid, most isolated and most nightmarish country on earth, by near-universal acclamation.”
– Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

“Critic’s Pick! Truly revealing.”
– Eric Hynes, Village Voice

“Ominous. The insanity speaks for itself. A daring journalistic exposé that manages to reveal the complex nature of governmental oppression from the inside out. Captures extraordinarily powerful moments of societal repression.”
– Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“A rare glimpse behind the heavy curtain of secrecy and paranoia that shields North Korea from prying foreign cameras. A fascinating study in state propaganda and the darker truth that hovers just outside the frame. The patriotic pageantry at Zin-Mi’s school is a choreographed fraud, her parents both have fictional jobs, and even their modestly nice apartment is a fake… Both surreal and sinister, it feels like we are watching a real-life version of THE TRUMAN SHOW. (The filmmaker) allows these staged vignettes to tell their own creepy story. He also captures some fascinating reportage images of everyday life. As much melancholy human interest story as political statement. A hellish police state masquerading as heaven on Earth.”
– Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

“A new film on life in North Korea has caused a diplomatic row after the director used officially sanctioned shoots to demonstrate how the state manipulates its people.”
– Carmen Gray, The Guardian (UK)

Film Forum