July 6, 2006

Seoul Train

I had emailed some friends* last December about this TV channel called CURRENT TV. I realized last week after 9 months of getting cable that I get this channel at home!

Even as N Korea announced today that it will continue its missile tests (see my blogpost couple weeks back about these shenanigans!) despite not only US but also world-wide condemnation, I watched a short docu-story on current.tv this evening about North Korea.

The documentary was novel because initially it had some good hidden camera footage from North Korea. Apparently, this footage was taken from a famous well-reviewed documentary
SEOUL TRAIN, which apparently has played on PBS's Independent Lens before. I'll have to see if I can catch it on WGBH sometime if it re-runs.

(In contrast to Seoul Train, read about North Korea: A Day In The Life - with its cityscapes and patriotic anthems - a far cry from the bleak landscape of Seoul Train - which is because Dutch filmmaker Pieter Fleury, with the full permission and cooperation of the North Korean government, created this propaganda film that gives us a glimpse of a day in the life of one of the world's most enigmatic societies.)

Anyways, the docu-story I saw on current.tv was a really short one (amateurs or wannabe directors shooting shorts and sending it into the channel is one of the main modus operandi for the channel) and the latter half mainly concentrated on an incident from some years ago where a N Korean family, which had fled to China tried to storm into the Japanese embassy to try to seek refuge. Typically, if North Koreans are caught by Chinese authorities in China, they are not considered as refugees and are instead considered 'illegal immigrants' and hence China sends them back to NK, where they are most likely tortured and may even face death. But in this case, due to media attention after the scuffle at the Japanese embassy, this family was allowed to go to South Korea. Millions others are however not that lucky and never heard of again...

Also earlier on current.tv ... Three Days in North Korea
Adrian Baschuk & Jaron Galinsky receive a rare opportunity to travel to one of the most isolated nations on earth.

More news and commentary on the North Korean famine , the refugee crisis, and links about human rights in North Korea, and other relief organizations and resources. - via Asiasource.

Also see this...
> A Russian photographer visited North Korea recently and took a bunch of   photos.
> See them at:
> http://www.tema.ru/travel/choson-2/
> http://www.tema.ru/travel/choson-3/
> http://www.tema.ru/travel/choson-4/
> http://www.tema.ru/travel/choson-5/

> Since all the captions are in Russian someone on a message board
> translated some of his captions into English but that site
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=82755 is coccasionally down.
> Google's cached version of the message board is at:

* Note to friends in December 2005:
Speaking of movies, saw an interesting new TV channel in hotel room in Atlanta this week (was there for a conference). Current TV (see current.tv
). Had Viewer filmed amateur programs of 10-15 minutes.. was awesome. Some real in-your-face makes-you-think content.. showed poor people riding the 'death train' from guatemala and el salvador thru mexico trying to get to US, showed AIDS affected orphan kids in Africa, etc etc.. really good short movies!

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