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Kim Jong-il’s Comedy Club on BBC4

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to figuring out what this is all about, but BBC Four has a one-hour documentary on Monday 8 February at 10pm. Time Out has selected it as Pick of the Day. Looks like it’s seriously worth a look. Here is Gabriel Tate’s commentary from Time Out:

Kim Jong-il's Comedy Club
Storyville: Kim Jong-il’s Comedy Club
So plentiful are the highlights of this remarkable film, it’s hard to single one out. Could it be Danish journalist-director Mads Brügger, proclaiming that ‘love is like a pineapple, sweet and undefinable’ before a statue of Kim Il-Sung and assembled ranks of officials? Or Jacob and Simon, two Danish-Korean comics who’ve accompanied him on his tightly-controlled trip to North Korea, baffling their hosts with a curious revue skit that culminates in a singalong of ‘Hey Jude’?

Well, we’d plump for the conflict between Jacob and Mads over the purpose of the film. While Mads doesn’t think twice about deceiving his hosts to make a wider point, Jacob is disabled and torn between the warm welcome he receives and his revulsion at the regime. And, while the insights into life under Kim Jong-il emerge relatively unscathed from the censor (the footage was vetted by the authorities), this is as much about the process of filmmaking as it is its canvas. Is Brügger exploiting his hosts, or his fellow travellers, or both? No surprise that this is a Zentropa production; Brügger, the archetypal unreliable narrator, is posing riddles as unsettling as any from Lars von Trier at his most mischievous. Gabriel Tate

Now go any buy lots of copies of Time Out, because you wouldn’t have heard about this otherwise.

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

2 thoughts on “Kim Jong-il’s Comedy Club on BBC4

  1. Michael Rank: Well I never! I saw a brief mention of the film in the Observer, so I emailed their spokesman to find out if there were any plans to show it in UK. His reply was vague and unhelpful, he clearly had no idea it was being shown on the Beeb! I’m very much looking forward to seeing it, though I suspect it tells us more about the makers of the film than about NK. Hoping to write about it on my blog…

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