Strong Words Magazine reviews Pyongyang

“Pyongyang” / Strong Words Magazine / July 1, 2018

Of immense topicality, given North Korea’s current campaign to generate Likes, cheerful Canadian Guy Delisle’s experience of working in a Pyongyang film studio, which was first published in 2005, is being reissued. This is less a look at life for the North Koreans stuck in the People’s Paradise, more a description of his own baffl ing and exhausting two months, battling to manage an animation production team, and take in the capital’s joyless sights with a translator and a guide constantly tapping his ankles. At first it’s not as bad as he thinks, and although the boredom eventually crushes him, he is still able to communicate a few fragments of possibly vital intel, such as revealing that a number of people elect to walk backwards (exercise), and that the ubiquitous images of the Great Leaders in homes and offi ces require special frames (thicker at the top like a wedge of cheese to angle the image downward, thus preventing reflection and adding to the intensity of stare.)

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