The Actress Kidnapped By Kim Jong Il And Forced To Make Movies (Strange Stories)

this episode is brought to you by the great courses Plus enjoy lectures from top professors from around the world click on the link in the description below to start your free trial today [Music] the actress kidnapped by Kim jong-il to make movies for North Korea the year was nineteen seventy eight and a freighter was secretly heading from Hong Kong across the East China Sea to Pyongyang North Korean capital on board was a most precious and unusual cargo the iconic South Korean actress 52 year old Choi Eun Chi who had just been kidnapped by the North Korean Secret Service throughout the 1950s and 60s Choi had been immensely popular in South Korea she founded a film company with her husband and director shin sang-ok and made over 130 movies winning numerous awards including the prestigious grand Bell award which is regarded as the South Korean version of the Oscars choice career suffered after her divorce from Shin in 1978 in an attempt to revive her now failing acting career she flew to Hong Kong to meet with what she thought was a businessman who wanted her involvement in a new film production company he was setting up when she arrived in Hong Kong she met the businessman who was named Wang dong ill and was treated well eating at luxurious restaurants but strangely there was very little business talk Choi also noticed that there were always strange men following her from a distance taking photos a few days later she was greeted by a business associate of Wang named Li sung Chi who was accompanied by her daughter they were to keep Choi entertained while Wang was occupied with a business matter after some sightseeing and shopping Choi and she was lured by Lee to repulse Bay for another potential opportunity to meet a businessman who would help her run a Performing Academy but it was a trap and all of a sudden two men grabbed Choi sedated her and bundled her into a speedboat Choi and Chi had been kidnapped by the North Korean Secret Service so why have this celebrity been kidnapped by the North Korean communist regime well it was on the instruction of the son of the North Korean dictator at the time Kim Jong Il it was said he was mad about movies and not only saw their potential for spreading internal propaganda but also to help promote North Korea and its values overseas Kim Jong Il is said to have owned over 15,000 films he particularly liked the James Bond movies and was a big fan of Sean Connery he wanted to improve the North Korean movie industry which he saw as full of ideology and Dogma and he was impressed by the movies of capitalist countries even praising them because of the work ethic behind the industry to do this he felt he needed fresh established talent from the capitalist South which could transform the stagnant North Korean movie industry and this became his reasoning for kidnapping joy once Choi had arrived in North Korea after her abduction Kim jong-il imprisoned her in isolated luxurious guarded accommodation then he spent the next five years trying to impress and spoil her by taking her to lavish parties grand government ceremonies and giving her expensive gifts she was given a tutor to teach her of the virtues of the North Korean state and much emphasis was put on showing her the cultural wonders of the regime over the next few years Choi was taken regularly to operas musical pageants museums and historical landmarks in the meantime Choi’s ex-husband Shin single a renowned film director with whom she had made some of her best movies with became worried that he had not heard from his ex-wife for six months so he decided to fly to Hong Kong to find her once there he too was kidnapped by the North Korean Secret Service who took him to Pyongyang but he was treated more harshly and resisted being indoctrinated after two failed escape attempts he was put in prison for two years as punishment and tortured it was not until 1983 during a banquet that Kim through that Choi and shin were reunited by the North Korean regime and became aware they had both been in the same situation kidnapped five years before Kim jong-il insisted they both started making movies together for his regime and demanded they both remarry each other to give the project an air of respectability it’s claimed that he wrote the first movie that Shin was to direct form in 1984 called an emissary of no return it was a period drama set in 1907 about a Korean emissary who tries to win Western support against the Japanese occupation of Korea at the time the movies choi and shin made were surprisingly varied the most had an anti-japanese or anti-capitalist undertone to them such as 1985’s moralizing fantasy musical the tale of shim Cheong in the same year Shin made his last and most expensive North Korean movie this was called pulgasari it did not start Choi and was about a Godzilla type creature running amuck a Japanese crew who had worked on Godzilla created the special effects after being tricked into thinking they were working on a Chinese movie overall the movies the pair produced for the North Korean regime were cheap and poorly made but one of the film’s the 1985’s salt did receive some acclaim Choi won the Best Actress Award for it at the 14th Moscow International Film Festival and it also got surprisingly good reviews by international critics then after nearly ten years of being in North Korea the couple managed to give their bodyguards the slip on their way back from attending the 1986 Berlin Film Festival they stopped in Vienna Austria where they escaped to the u.s. embassy to request political asylum for decades the US government was aware of the problem with North Korea abducting people as estimated that at least several hundred people have been kidnapped since 1953 though some sources claim the true figure is as high as thirty eight hundred people it’s theorized that North Korea did this for a number of reasons but chiefly to steal people’s identities and get them to teach North Korean intelligence officers that customs and languages of their native countries choi and shin were both granted asylum and lived quietly in america until 1999 Choi never made any films ever again afterwards but in 1992 Shin did make the low-budget American martial arts comedy three ninjas knuckle up under the name of Simon Sheen although it was a commercial flop eventually they felt it was safe enough to return to South Korea on their return Choi was treated with much reverence and nostalgia that in 2014 she was awarded by the order of cultural merit a big thank you to the great courses plus for sponsoring the simple History Channel the great courses plus is a subscription on-demand video learning service where you can enjoy lectures from top professors from around the world these courses streamed to your TV tablet laptop or phone through any web browser or available apps the great courses plus will feed your hunger for more history with its vast collection of history video lectures from the Middle Ages to Napoleon to the war in Iraq there are also other subjects science fine art literature and language mathematics and more if you liked this episode that you might like utopia and terror in the 20th century taught by Professor veja Sabri Ahlul a vicious PhD the lecture looks at many regimes of the last century fascist Italy the USSR Pol Pot’s Cambodia and more throughout the course episode 20 East Germany the Soviet Union North Korea gives you an insight into the Kim dynasty and how they operated the North Korean regime get started with the great courses plus and use our special offer free trial by clicking the link in the description below or by going to the great courses plus calm / simple history
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ1phyjzQFs

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