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

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

"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.

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

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Mara

    This book is a strong 3.5 stars, maybe even tilting toward 4. If you're interested in it—read it. It's fun, short, and fascinating. My star-docking is more of a content critique, but (attention span...

  • DeB MaRtEnS

    Speechless. Nearly wordless. I've been to Oz, but it's Mickey Mouse who rules as a god-like Sun-King, the subjects know their lines perfectly to exalt His Majesty but if they miss a word or don't smil...

  • Trish

    This work of creative nonfiction will undoubtedly catch many Asia-watchers by surprise. Facts about North Korea are thin on the ground here in America, but this book blasts open a personal history of ...

  • Bettie?

    Read by Stephen ParkDescription: 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 a...

  • Melinda

    Impeccably researched, riveting details of a brazen abduction of prominent South Korean film artists by North Korea’s megalomaniac Kim Jong-Il.Kim Jong-Il decides film production will bring him accl...

  • Louise

    I was aware that North Korea kidnapped English and Japanese language teachers to train its spies, but these late 1970's high profile abductions were only vague in my memory. Through Paul Fischer's gri...

  • Mal Warwick

    What do Americans know about North Korea? For even the best-informed among us, the answer is, sadly, not much. What we know, or at least have been persuaded to believe, comes largely from the testimon...

  • F.R.

    You probably read about this in the newspapers. An ultra-strange story of how famed South Korean actress, Choi-Eun-hee and her husband, the film director Shin Sang-ok, were kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il an...

  • Emma

    The Kim Jong-Il Production is a short, but captivating account of the 1980's kidnapping of a south Korean filmmaker and his (ex-) wife - a prominent actress - by direct orders of 'dear Leader' and fut...

  • Emma

    So the compelling page-turniness of this book ends up winning it four stars, even though its style detracts from the whole, somewhat. This *is* an amazing story, but insomniacally reviewing it at 3am ...