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After the collapse of their glamorous romance, a famous director and actress are kidnapped by movie-obsessed dictator Kim Jong-il. Forced to make films in the world's weirdest state, they get a second chance at love, but only one chance at escape.
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The Lovers and the Despot movie full length review - Brief photo-insights into a land we know about which we know little
BBC is always a label that indicates I will be interested more than American films. The main review above indicating the many lapses of 'what happened then?' to the story presented left gaps to the understanding of the story of these 2 South Koreans, and left me, the viewer, wondering.
And this gaping was not just occasional but repeated with no further references to the lack clarifications - or the 'filling the holes' of their life's story.
However, because it is actual as documentary and many still fotos included where some filming was obviously impossible, the result is what is commonly seen on screens of historical events or celebrities. But then the repeated shots of a tape recorder became boring because they were continually used to validate the story. So those recordings were meant to be educational or make believably.
That the couple were abducted and held against their will is believable. But how the '5 yrs' of the actress's life in North Korea were lived was unclear - as to whether she was a mistress, only-an-actress-object, or a mainly a celebrity -- used to prove North had what the South loved and lost.
And while there is indication of her being drugged when abducted, but then that was left as a vague hint but w/o a more comprehensible description of the drug effects on her - or how long that drugging continued, or did not. I wondered.
That the dictator/ruler of North Korea used these celebrities for PRO-paganda purposes was the important msg. learned, Kim's holding people with the military power all autocratic rulers use. Some descriptions of the North Korea population's emotional reactivity was interesting, and while not stating clearly how that was produced, one could imagine some psychological ways that the repression and group-identity of large groups of people could then enclose them and reproduce their extreme attachment to 'their leader'.
So there were some revealing and educational benefits, plus the unusual topic, and real-story was a good lure to this movie. The female star's descriptions of her life then were believable too. Documentaries are appreciated when they show, teach, reveal, educate and explore what is lacking elsewhere and unknown. This film did so, tho the techniques were often repetitive and boring at times. Still worth watching for the rarity anyhow.