Thursday, August 24, 2017

"My Life in North Korea v. South Korea" by Jacob Laukaitis

"My Life in North Korea v. South Korea", is a stunning video (15 minutes) by  23-year old filmmaker JacobLaukaitis, who speaks to the audience (English) in a very slight accent (sounds German).

Jacob tours modern life in free, capitalist South Korea after giving a brief history lesson of the country, especially the 1950-1953 Korean War.  He tours super modern Seoul, rides a bullet train, and hikes in fog-shrouded mountains.  Sometimes he rides on a motorcycle with a local friend (I don’t recommend riding between lanes anywhere).  He often intersperses pictures from the South.

Then I found his earlier film “My Daily Life in North Korea (7 Day Mystery Trip)” (link) which he took apparently in late 2016.  He had fallen off a bike in Vietnam and had a left arm in a cast.  He explains how the tour is closely guided and activities are supervised, as “the proles” put on shows for visitors behaving in unison like zombies worshipping Kim Jong Un. There is a unison musical performance, a film (remember “The Flower Girl”, which I saw in New York City in 1974 at Washington Square Methodist Church)  He rides one roller coaster in Pyongyang. He also stays in the notorious island hotel where Otto Warmbier had stayed, and he briefly gives the tragic history of Warmbier’s supposed “crime” (photo proof seems questionable), imprisonment, coma and death.  The forbidden fifth floor had housed the DPRK police.

He also gives the narrative of one man who was smuggled to China and worked as a peasant for 3 years before being able to come to South Korea.

Americans can no longer visit North Korea as tourists (as of Sept. 1).
These are technically outstanding videos, recently published, and ought to be shown in film festivals.  I don't know how he got a cameraman do do all those shots legally in North Korea.  

Jacob's second film does seem to be a kind-hearted warning to the US that it would put all of South Korea of into a target to be ravaged by war should Trump strike North Korea pre-emptively.

He seems to be a filmmaker to watch, very aware of the politics and people both.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of train at Incheon by Minsoeng Kim under CCSA 4/0 

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