tv Doc Film Deutsche Welle March 2, 2020 10:15am-11:01am CET
at the other end clune continue their upward trajectory lines pulled clear of danger by beating bottom side out of. it watching the news from berlin coming up next so our documentary film looks at the daily life of people in north korea beyond dictatorship and censorship i'm terry morse thanks watch. we're all set. to go beyond. that. we're all about the stories that matter to you. whatever it takes. to start running the 2 things 1st there's nothing d.w. made for minds.
decades on the topic of north korea remains a touchy subject. the world has passed judgement the country is beyond repair our preconceived ideas about the democratic people's republic of north korea remain firmly in place. in a radek orwellian regime paranoid schizophrenic a place of modern day gulags. a red dynasty long headed by a despotic film buff and now by his son whose portly appearances topped with a singular haircut. and then there's the country's nuclear arsenal a threat that makes the self-proclaimed innocent nations of the world tremble with fear. when it comes to north korea why do we so often resort to cliches in light of the difficult and often tragic situation the country's people find themselves in hyperbole seems rather inappropriate.
we're often told that foreigners are not permitted into the country. that those who do manage to visit are not permitted to see much of anything and that those who do manage to see something should remember it's probably fake. someone once insisted to us that there were no high rises in pyongyang. a disorienting claim given that one of us was living on the 24th floor of a building on quite a box street at the time. that. this film was shot over a period of 8 years by 3 people one of us is
a translator of korean. between us we made more than 40 trips to north korea. but the film does not show prison camps or rocket launch pads that's forbidden as our images of soldiers construction sites shopping malls gambling pictures of people who do not have enough to eat and pictures of people who are eating avoiding these images is harder than it might seem. the entering north korea is still complicated but foreigners are permitted to travel and explore the country although they always have a local minder the. visitors are not required to proclaim their loyalty to the state nor do they only see what the state permits them to see. and it's a myth that you'll never hear laughter in north korea. or are. rare
down trucks and buses are a common sight. depending on the season the workers in the fields might be harvesting wheat rice or potatoes although much of the country is mountainous the rest is primarily devoted to farming. the. north korea hopes to become economically self-sufficient someday every square meter of available land is put to use even on the steep hillsides. but only barely 20 percent of the land is arable.
this factory was not filmed in 1920 but in 2016 using a small camera while exploring the city of hama home. as so often in north korea appearances are deceiving. this is the country's largest fertilizer factory which kim il sung's honored with more than 30 visits. it's recently been modernized in a bid to increase the productivity of the country's co-operative farms. co-operative farms like this one with its familiar ox cards geese and ducks and the omnipresent red flags. i. another visit to a collective farm a year later. it's raining and everyone has gone to seek shelter. the productivity chart proudly displays the farms yields. we
take shelter in the living room of one of the farm workers she tells us about the bitter cold winters hot summers and the fact breaking work in the rice fields her son is 14 small for his age she admits but the family has been through hard times. her son was born just as the great famine was ending. behind her one of the country's ubiquitous historical melodrama says playing on t.v. . then she launches into a vivid description of her visits to pyongyang. who sent him to the nothing in addition to the muslim of the great need as i visited the museum of the revolution the amusement park near the neatest birthplace the revolutionary mount a cemetery the science and technology museum and the grounds people study house. i went everywhere cause. it's.
anyone from the provinces who visits the capitol comes here 1st the house where kim il sung was born the birthplace of the republic. and this is where it all started they say. the great leaders training as a revolutionary the resistance against the japanese the struggle against the evil landowners and collaborators it's a story that's very familiar to people here. and as kim is song was the son of an ordinary peasant he's also venerated as a role model. this is a place of pilgrimage year round in the winter the buildings and grounds are decked in sober white. during our visit and 2011 we 1st saw a local visitors wearing brightly colored winter coats imported from china.
by 2015 the classes of schoolchildren are wearing brand name sweat pants even though their sneakers don't quite yet make the grade. september brings the color of autumn and a pumpkin on the patched roof. that n.p.r. everything is bigger more modern more beautiful we were told by the woman from the collective farm. the city has more of everything more light more shops more food more housing more work more education more culture who wouldn't want to live here. the capitol is more than the epicenter of the state it's an icon. our farmer would probably have been told that these exemplary buildings are home to exemplary citizens scientists soldiers civil servants. some of the
most eminent live on the glossy numerate or future scientists treat. for a farmer from a village without so much as a paved road this would be an impressive sight. and the people who live here seem to have plenty of time for leisure activities. our visitor from the collective farm couldn't help but be dazzled by these high rises the most famous of which looks like an atom when viewed from above. and by the new district springing up around the city built with the labor of the country soldiers and workers.
but it would be very unlikely that our visitor would ever set foot in one of these apartments reserved for the most worthy citizens. it's perfectly neat and tidy for the residents have fled the camera there's a computer cell phone books and a sewing machine. the balcony offers a view across the city in the midst of a real estate boom there's an abundance of colored quite the contrast to. the gray that dominated here just 20 years ago. this real estate boom has given rise to a black market in pyongyang and other large cities. when the state awards a faithful follower with a new apartment they pass on the old one to the highest bidder for a choice location prices can easily top $100000.00 and only a fraction of that is tax that ends up in state coffers karl marx might have called this the primitive accumulation of capital. of visitors tour might end with
a trip to an amusement park or water park one of kim jong un's priorities is building playgrounds for the people. the entrance fee equivalent of 2 euros isn't cheap by local standards but everyone mingles and enjoys themselves even the adults get into the swing of things. to do something like i came with my group but i don't know where my coworkers are. now i'm looking for them. who are members and whose income or local race. has good
mood i do you deny that i work at a large coal mine an hour away from pyongyang i can't come often because of my work . going slow to be a little today we visited the great leaders muscly i'm so i stop by here. i like to come to pyongyang to relax after having fun like this work comes more easily oh. god what are you looking at go play to the. we've never been abroad but now we have lots of waterparks even at home in our province north of cuba as we were you know we didn't look for you know kind of the mother's eyes we will become the best in the world without anyone's help just by our own hands down but with the title. i any more questions where the best. was. some of the rural visitors seem
a bit lost in the crowd home but since many people don't know how to swim no one really notices. but on state television nowadays people can even tune into swimming lessons were. the sun is beginning to set a good time to visit the city's main amusement park beyond pyongyang's arch of triumph. like everywhere in north korea filming anything to do with the military is banned but hard to avoid because soldiers are everywhere. some might call this nothing but bread and circuses but it's far more than that there's hardly a north korean who doesn't dream of living in pyongyang and every resident of pyongyang is terrified of being expelled from the city for some foolish mistake forcing them and their family to live in exile for
a few years or for the rest of their lives 3 in a place where they'll have less of everything. with its lights and sights pyongyang inspires loyalty. people flock to the parks and swimming pools to enjoy what is the most attractive city in the country. and even the world. for the people who live here at least since their world ends at the north korean border.
we've never witnessed a birth in north korea but we've seen plenty of weddings or wedding preparations to be more precise like this professional photo shoot for the happy couple is posing in front of pyongyang is most iconic locations. it's monsoon season which means 38 degrees celsius and a very humid. day susan i think it has elicited the bride and groom 1st went to the statues of the great leaders. and then we came to the flower park you see here near the water fountain so. soldiers usually like to pose in front of military monuments if you like the monument to the victorious fatherland liberation war. what the wedding video doesn't show are the many people who helped make this happy event possible.
to quote exhibit up. in north korea most marriages are arranged through matchmakers it's their job to find the ideal marriage partner who will also be suitable to the families. although marrying for love is just starting to trend arranged marriages are still the norm. one result is that people usually marry within their own social class. for many decades the country's elite was dominated by the revolutionary comrades of kim il sung and their descendants. at the bottom of the social order were the families of people who had collaborated with japan and their descendants. in between were some 40 subclasses who were not permitted to marry outside their rank. the end of kim il sung's regime the famine under kim jong il and the partial disintegration of both state and party that followed not only shook the country but also its traditional
social hierarchy. this helped loosen the stringent marriage rules. today the most desirable professions for a husband are scientist diplomat the military and of course business professionals . for years women traffic police were highly sought after on the marriage market but they're seen less often now with the installation of traffic lights. young couples are expected to have children and their education will be put in the hands of the state at an early age. the country boasts a reported literacy rate of 100 percent a success that is attributed to the revolution. the most important school subjects
are math physics music and singing korean and the lives of the great leaders. from kindergarten on children are subjected to a rigorous selection process the best students spend their holidays taking part in sports at the young pioneer camps. there here are. by. the. 7 7 c time when we arrive at the stadium a competition is underway each side is cheering on its team. the young charges aren't wearing the standard lapel pins bearing the images of the great leaders there on holiday and children under 16 aren't obliged to wear them for a charity event at privately or
a period i thought i would have to add ira. then it's time for the tug of war if you are up to the evil american soldier in the middle is tough he's already made it through several tournaments or a 6 6 i was. who. i said i'm. finding a good husband having a successful career these topics are far more interesting to most north koreans than the endless propaganda they are exposed to getting married is important and
it's also the focus of the sitcoms that are broadcast on a giant screen at the central railway station the local stand here to watch them in the middle of december even in a chilly minus 15 degrees celsius. well who who. was. there is also an ad for automaker p.r. which means peace and korean the company was founded by sun myung moon's unification. in church but has been fully owned by the state since 2013. people who. want the you know. the in the the sitcoms portray a politically correct world the individual matters only as a part of the collective we're being a good worker is what counts. in
the winter everyone is responsible for a stretch of road no matter how much snow has fallen it has to be cleared. that's why scenes of people scraping snow and ice off their patch of road before heading off to the office are a common sight in the winter. for some unknown reason we had to wait for years before our guides allowed us to film in parks. more on bowling park is a popular place for sunday outings at something like north korea's central park.
and. we wondered why permission to film here took so long. people drawing park scenes hardly seem like a state secret. then there are also shooting ranges. dancers. and lots of picnics. on public holidays the state sometimes distributes meat and beer. kind of. like. what. 6 these pensioners free of family and professional obligations are enjoying a day out. i was.
there free style of dancing is not easily defined and has the air of a show moniker ritual. in 1956 filmmaker chris marker who was part of the 1st french delegation to visit the north after the korean war recorded almost identical scenes of workers dancing by a train factory. leave only stands to more and beyond park anywhere you need to learn us how we can pay with full mcconnell needs. to melissa we need to every sunday to down. you know your mother not. that it
doesn't thank you. why don't you stand down with us. the district next to the park is nicknamed little dubai at 1st sight it looks like a kind of commuter suburb but appearances are deceiving. all sorts of things are hidden behind these tinted windows electronics stores pharmacies banquet halls supermarkets and a huge selection of bars and restaurants. this
television ad sings the praises of a luxury supermarket so heavily airconditioned the staff wear warm jackets it's well stocked with everything from swiss chocolate to olive oil french and italian wines and imported fruit. the elegant restaurants up stairs are popular with the don't jews the money masters as the newly affluent are called they serve up sushi cappuccino a $20.00 steak north korea is no longer an empty consumerist state quite the opposite for those who can afford it.
north korea's par. the newspapers don't publish restaurant reviews yet but given the number of restaurants barbecue joints and snack bars cropping up everywhere around the country that's probably not too far off. 6 is the north korean obsession with food a remnant of the arduous march the famine that ravaged the country between 1009 142000 causing somewhere between half a 1000000 and a 1000000 deaths. back then even the word restaurant was considered taboo. came into power he promised the north koreans they would never face such deprivation again. now food has become a sign of success an important part of the culture almost as much as in south korea .
we come across a 2800 press release from the official north korean news agency. it reads from the 2nd to the 4th of april the 23rd cooking festival took place at the pyongyang noodle house marking the day of the sun the birthday of president kim il sung. if there's anything north koreans excel at it's. each time military experts around the world scrutinize the missiles mounted on the vehicles imported in violation of u.n. sanctions. others and the slogans are the differences between parades over 3 generations of rulers. his son and his grandson. but there's one constant over the years the images of north koreans cheering on their leaders.
the book it takes weeks of practice to make these living mosaics the book. normally filming rehearsals is forbidden. north korea only likes to display finished products to be acquire a painting a missile or a reform. but it's a tempting scene. since 5 30 in the morning students have been out on every square in the city practicing for the upcoming parade and all of pyongyang is main roads pass through kim il sung square. it's obligatory to slow down when passing in front of the portraits of the great leaders so the temptation to reach for our cell phones and cameras is high but.
we observe the portraits as they observe us. during our 1st visits here we were like many foreigners and treat by their omnipresence. but the more often we visited the less we noticed them. the same does not apply to north koreans cyclists are required to dismount from their bikes and look upon the statues of their leaders. cars must slow down. the 6 6 passers by turn to gaze at the images. shortly after kim jong il's death by young upper class woman trying to explain what the leaders meant to her. it's a bit like you with your jesus she said except for us jesus would also be
a member of the family. my god i'm in the heat of the summer we occasionally saw a fan cooling the portrait of the leaders. north korean art like this fresco near the entrance to a sports shoe factory is designed to protect the country as the party would like to see it that it's not pure fiction but more often more an aspiration rather than a reality. the real one factory or weeping willow paradise has 700 workers 70 percent are
women they produce 1500000 sports shoes a year its assembly line work. for years local products were conspicuous in their conformity. now the factory is seeking to draw inspiration from foreign trends. in marketing jargon this is what's called benchmarking. so you know. after he visited our factory a respected marshal sent us 142 pairs of foreign shoe models but one said all this but that. dismissal. he told us to display them at the workplace next to the ones which had been done incorrectly. but that is what it should be that i was technicians and employees to observe and
compare them to ours so. our goal is to raise the quality of our shoes to an international level and i just. copying foreign trends reducing imports and promoting local industry makes sense in a country that is often struck by sanctions but for the plan to work the products have to appeal to north korean consumers. one new brand this cold body box with a b the shoes all sport 3 stripes. but in north korea patriotism is still a key sales driver. fashions are changing slowly too. in the early 1990 s. a foreign ministry publication was still proudly defending the goal of a monochrome society something between grey and brown. the times have changed.
we pay a visit to a bowling alley bowling popular in the 1980 s. has become trendy again. and. up stairs people are playing the slot machines. downstairs we get a good look at some of the latest bashan. here to banners tell the party line. that reads let's advance the social revolution that ensures the happiness and well being of the masses. if it wasn't for the slogans on the walls we could be almost
anywhere in asia. this young woman is an office worker. but that's a lot of everyone dresses to suit their body type and coloring some women have square shoulders and try to disguise them well. you would see the heavier ones try to dress in the color that suits them. and men do the same don't say. everyone knows best which clothes shoes and makeup to choose so they can look stylish. did you listen to. make on friday have fun. with it you know we come here with friends and colleagues to get some exercise and relax. bowling alone is no fun is the atmosphere and good mood that counts. not to give people.
their. fair. it's. just so. at this rest area along the motorway a bus full of chinese tourists has stopped on its way to k. song the city at the border to south korea. in 2017 these visitors had all but disappeared to sanctions. and 2018 they returned nearly 1000 chinese tourists come each day drawn by the peace and quiet the unspoiled nature and perhaps a touch of nostalgia for a country that reminds them of china 40 years ago. though it might come as
a surprise the training for jobs in the tourism industry is very popular in north korea nowadays. over the long term the country is hoping to increase the number of visitors by 30 percent each year. in the fall one sun beach on the east sea is deserted. but it's the off season here 2 soldiers. have the beach to themselves. this time we're allowed to film them since they're not in uniform but. this is the same beach in the summer. on the right the premium beach for absolute visitors. on the left the public area
where mission costs just a few cents. whether it's a group of workers a gathering of students or entire families everyone's enjoying themselves. and. people arrive by truck or on bicycles some come for the day others for a week. many come from rural regions. ok everybody dig in. and. we come from the countryside north of pyongyang. whole family has come here to relax it's the best place to rest and have tried. our leader kim
jong long encouraged us to come on. they're building another tourist site in one sun and this year we're enjoying the beach here. next year we plan to relax into a new comer tourist zone. but you know. in the distance we can see the construction site dozens of hotels are being built that's another priority for the current leader. when donald trump met with kim jong un the us president was enthusiastic about the area and said the location had a lot of potential for development. in 20152016 north korean delegations discreetly inspected the french riviera and other mediterranean resorts for ideas that they could bring back to adopted home.
the manager of a famous local fish restaurant is pleased with what's happening. the madness of this so it's a great opportunity to make one sound known around the world. i do want us there on the looks of guest houses and some will have towns had some people even campaign because the sea is very. good cause. because if i had many french people will come here to swim and try a famous soup of course see go look look look look look look what. except in the mining in nuclear testing areas there's lots of unspoiled nature here. due to embargoed farming uses very little artificial fertilizer. there's little light. pollution due to frequent electricity shortages. it comes as something of a surprise that north korea has never thought to market itself as
a pioneer in sustainable development. uninhabited for the past 65 years the demilitarized zone has preserved a unique biodiversity. so far pyongyang doesn't seem inclined to take advantage of these natural assets. the. arabs. in the rest of the world north korea is seen as an anomaly. north korea also sees itself as unique which it certainly is as frequent visitors we are struck by the endless repetition of the same songs sung everywhere at schools and on public transportation the same
slogans decorate the streets the same films are constantly broadcast on t.v. north korea is a country under a bell jar a country marching to its own pace it's impenetrable frustrating exhausting. but its people are open curious and full of life. north korea is changing rapidly. poly or fast fast is a favorite phrase in both north and south korea. north koreans tastes are changing as are their hopes for the future. perhaps one day our image of north korea will change to.
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. this is to give you news live from berlin british police used tear gas to turn back migrants at the border with turkey. or their families were there and everyone is panicking everybody is crying. these people are among the thousands trying to cross into the e.u. now turkey says it will no longer stop that but greece is pushing back citing fears of a fresh migration crisis also coming up terrorist closes its famous louvre museum over coronavirus fears across europe the tourism industry takes a hit.