Ever wondered where North Korean movies or made? Or how they are celebrated locally? Previously on our blog we have covered local films in the DPRK such as the Flower Girl and explored their symbolism to North Korea’s political system? But now we are going to take a look behind the scenes in these productions at North Korea’s very own Choson Film Studio, an open air set where many of the country’s films have been enacted. Available on request to visitors, the studio is a 10 minute drive to the outskirts of Pyongyang. It proves to be one of the more fun and interesting destinations explored in the DPRK.
On entering the studio grounds, there is one thing that stands out. That is course, the legacy of the flower girl. As our blog notes, the film is culturally and politically significant for its representation of the Korean revolution in the light of Japanese resistance, an allegory of the country itself. Thus the entrance of the studio possesses both an elaborate propaganda poster glorifying the movie, as well as even a bronze statue of her with Kim Il Sung. That is of course, quite the introduction! From this point, you will drive onwards to start exploring the film sets.
So what is amazing about this studio is that it has re-created several model towns of areas of Asia in the 1930s as live film sets. There are a number of them to explore. First of all you get to see rural Korea, seeing some traditional Korean buildings, a temple and then the small straw home where the flower girl itself was filmed. Afterwards, in no particular order, you will then see sets depicting streets in China, Japan and South Korea in that period, complete with stores, shops, schools, churches and other buildings, of course minus any actors. Nonetheless, the level of detail and quality put into each is remarkable. It’s creative and exciting to look around!
As a whole, this makes the Choson film studio unique, intriguing and worthwhile to visit. It’s something less intense and more relaxing than other sites visited around the country. Finally, if you’re interested in exploring more of the North Korean world of cinema then there’s always the Pyongyang film festival in October. We’ll not only be visiting this studio, but we will be meeting with real DPRK actors and even getting to watch some new screenings! Forget Hollywood, set your sights on this!