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National Geographic - Inside North Korea
National Geographic - Inside North Korea
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2007     0hr 52min

Join National Geographic's Lisa Ling as she captures a rare look inside North Korea - something few Americans have ever been able to do. Posing as an undercover medical coordinator and closely guarded throughout her trip, ...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Studio: National Geographic Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/20/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 0hr 52min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Not National Geographic Quality
Remford | 07/21/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The xenophobic Hermit Kingdom and its ubiquitous worship of the father and son Kims is legendary. And while this offers an interesting scenario of how the North Korean government is willing to both extoll the virtues of Juche self-sufficiency while depending upon the generosity of foreign aid (as they take credit for it themselves), there is very little breadth and even less depth of interesting or new information.

Compounding the disappointment is the narrator/participant, Lisa Ling. She is clearly over her head in terms of trying to report on something as weighty as geopolitics. Her style is trite and ill-prepared, over dramaticized, and makes leaps of presumptions that often cause the viewer to stop short their own interpretations of what little actual insight is given by repeatedly emphasizing the various quirks of North Korean life rather than ever trying to understand the meningfulness behind thtem.

This is much more of a home video with additional commentary than a National Geographic production."
Interesting, but Ethically Questionable
A. O. Sheepfielder | Chicago, IL USA | 02/27/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"A unique and very interesting look inside one of the most bizarre and cruel societies on Earth. Content wise, I really enjoyed "Inside North Korea," but I have to admit, I felt pretty guilty about enjoying it. Here's why . . . .

I have to question the wisdom and journalistic ethics of making this documentary in the stealthy way that the folks at National Geographic Channel did. They basically used a desperately needed humanitarian relief organization to sneak in Western reporters, which are otherwise absolutely forbidden by the paranoid and ultra-secretive North Korean government. Didn't it occur to Lisa Ling and National Geographic that, by cloaking themselves in the mantel of humanitarian aid to film a forbidden documentary, they might severely jeopardize any future humanitarian efforts? Did they think that after Kim Jong Il found out he'd been suckered and embarassed, he would ever let another international relief agency into his country to care for his long-suffering populus?

Even more disturbing is the life-and-death peril into which this production knowingly placed the official North Korean guides assigned to Lisa Ling and company. Throughout the program, Ling repeatedly comments on the terrible consequences of visitors asking the wrong questions, taking the wrong pictures or doing anything that might in any way be perceived as critical of or disrespectful to the North Korean government. But these consequences aren't so much for the foreign visitors themselves; they're for the visitors' guides, government-appointed handlers who face severe repercussions if the foreigners in their care step out of line, including being sent to concentration camps where they would almost certainly die. Was making a one-hour documentary for cable TV worth knowingly sacrificing these people? This isn't like some American corporate stooge getting fired for saying too much to Michael Moore. If Lisa Ling's narration is to be believed (and I can think of no reason to doubt it), because they made this documentary in the clandestine way that they did -- using lies, subterfuge, and trickery --, their North Korean guides (AND their guides' entire families) are going to suffer and maybe even die. Cheers, National Geographic Channel. Hope the ratings were worth it."
Unbelieveable - A real eye-opener.
Keith Thode | Detroit, Mi USA | 03/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's hard to imagine a society so repressed and isolated where you and your entire extended family can be placed in prison for life merely for questioning the "Dear Leader"(Kim Jong Il). This documentary revolves around a Nepalese doctor who brought his team and equipment into North Korea to perform cataract operations on 1000 blind North Koreans, and in the process, teach North Korean doctors the procedure. A news team posed as part of the medical team. Also includes interviews with defectors."
Made me cry
Robert Ryder | 12/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Everyone should see this documentary about what must be the worst country in the world. I can only say what so many others have said about this film.
BUT! There was one thing I noticed. The lack of respect Miss Ling and her cameraman showed sometimes. Their behaviour could've put others in GREAT danger. The first thing was when the camera man lied down on the ground to photograph a statue of Kim Il Sung. They put the guide and the security guard in GREAT danger by doing that. It was easy to see how scared he was when he said he had to leave the country. The guide/guard is the one who'll be accused for letting foreigners behave that way, and might be sent to a gulag camp. (Ms Ling and the crew must've known that it was forbidden in the first place!)
The other thing was when the team visited the old blind woman, and Ms Ling first asks what's the favorite picture of the great leader, and then asks if the great leader can do anything wrong. Had ANYONE of the North Koreans answered those questions in ANY way, it would've meant fatal consequences for them! The North Korean family had no less than six observers observers watching them, and even a fraction of doubt in the faces could've been seen as doubt to the regime. This could've meant DANGER for the family. Consentration camps, torture, execution etc.
I couldn't stop wondering what happened to the North Koreans who appeared in this movie after the film crew left. I can only hope nothing did, but I also fear the worst.
So to Ms Ling and her crew: Remember not to put your objects in danger!"