In case you didn’t know, I lived for three and a half years in South Korea. It’s where I met my wife. It’s my second home, and I feel more comfortable there than I do in most other places. I have continued to study Korean history and follow Korean politics. Knowing this, Chris “Mother Fuckin'” Bullock picked up A Kim Jong-Il Production for me, a book written by Paul Fischer.
It’s an amazing book. I say that because it is both very well-researched and very evocative. Fischer’s prose keeps your attention, delivering a story while he informs.
The book is about the South Korean director Shin Sang-Ok and his wife, the actress Choi Eun-Hee, who were kidnapped by movie-obsessed North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Il (father of the present leader, Kim Jong-Un).
Yes, Kim Jong-Il used the resources of the North Korean intelligence community to kidnap a director and actress to make movies for him. I’ll let that sink in for a bit.
The book begins with the rise to fame and influence of the three, how Shin became a great director, how Choi became South Korea’s premier actress, and how Kim rose to power and took the reins from his father. Then we learn about the kidnapping and the lives of Shin and Choi in Kim’s North Korea.
What I really love about this book is the period details. The story runs from the Korean War to the 1980s, and both the South and the North changed dramatically during that period. The discussion of the lives of the three main characters is intertwined with the story of the evolution of the divided Koreas.
I give A Kim Jong-Il Production 4.75 communist movie cameras out of 5 for those interested in the Koreas and a 4.5 for all others. This is both a fantastic story and an insightful examination of a dynamic period in Korean history. I was enthralled with the story, and appreciated the details. I would highly recommend this book for just about anyone, but especially for those interested in the Koreas.
You can learn more about A Kim Jong-Il Production at Goodreads.