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On The Art Of Cinema

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(Written by Kim Jong-il, 1973)

“Revolutionizing cinema is the means of revolutionizing the whole of art and literature and exposing society to the Worker’s Party monolithic ideology and Juche.”

Few laid their intentions as bare as as cinema theorist and former leader of DPRK, as well as father of Kim-Jung-un, Kim Jong-il. By coining the cinematic style “Juche realism”  and inspired by purist Marxist philosophies (with a clear disdain for the what he beloved as a devolving of the ideology into a “cult of personality”), Kim’s passion for cinema inspired him to write down his theories, crafting one of the most significant books of its time in the country, one that would path film’s past, present, and future in the DPRK. Part-manifesto, part-film criticism essay, On The Art Of Cinema captures an isolated country beginning to unlock the true potential of film and its limitless possibilities in shaping culture and the communication of a country’s ideals, while creating a harmony that can bring a the nation together. Applauded by the citizens of DPRK at the time, many believe it was this book that established Kim Jong-il as a household name, more for his contributions to the art world than his clear political connections, which would help him become the successor. His father Kim Il-sung, another cinema enthusiast, wrote the screenplay to The Flower Girl, which came out the year before the book was published, one of the most significant works in DPRK’s film canon and one of the only one’s to achieve worldwide acclaim.

* The Flower Girl can be found in our The Sanctioned Films Of North Korea film series.

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