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

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Staff Reviews

"This is the frightfully true story of how the film obsessed dictator's son, Kim Jong-Il, kidnapped South Korea's greatest director and his movie star ex-wife so as to male the communist nations movie industry a force to be reckoned with. An unforgettable read filled with car chases, prison camps, and preposterous plot twists that would seem unforgivably unbelievable were it to occur on the silver screen. Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!!!!" 

— Joe T.

"Fischer's book is an eyeopening and disturbing work that will intrigue you and totally suck you in. When Kim Jong-Il decides that film production will bring him acclaim world wide, he kidnaps both a famous South Korean director and actress to create these films. Both Shin Sang-0k and Choi Eun-Hee are unwilling participants, but after five years of incarceration, they decide to cooperate and begin to achieve some success - which brings them praise from the Great Leader and also provides the opportunity for them to escape North Korea. At the same time wildly entertaining and absolutely horrifying, with cultural details from this secretive country that are shocking, Fischer's book highlights the rise of cinema as a true art form in North Korea and the parallel rise of Kim Jong-Il's Juche regime. Unforgettable."

— Raul


"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.

About the Author

PAUL FISCHER is a film producer who studied social sciences at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and film at the University of Southern California and the New York Film Academy. Paul's first feature film, the documentary Radioman, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Doc NYC film festival and was released to critical and commercial acclaim. A Kim Jong-Il Production is his first book.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781250054265
ISBN-10: 1250054265
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015
Pages: 368
Language: English