New book today, North Korean Cinema: A History by Johannes Schonherr, is a work on the beginning of North Korean cinema as it examines the obstacles and social problems faced by the filmmakers.
An excerpt from the introduction:
Like many other idealogical dictatorships of the 20th century, North Korea has always considered cinema to be an indispensable propaganda tool. No other medium was as powerful as the movies; no other medium could penetrate the whole population even in the remote corners of the country so thoroughly and so effectively. In addition, no other medium was right from the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (to give the official name of the state) so strictly and so exlusively under state control.
Looking at the history of North Korean cinema means looking at the history of North Korean politics and culture, shifts in its ideology and the many problems the country has been facing. Through movies, the country’s first two successive leaders, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, propagandized their policies and tried to rally the masses behind them. For a long period, they were successful.