Napalm review – Claude Lanzmann's gripping account of erotic encounter in North Korea

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The veteran documentary-maker revisits a romantic interlude during a visit to North Korea in the 1950s, and the result is self-indulgent but undeniably fascinating

We are living through a mini-boom in documentaries about North Korea. Film-makers are getting into Pyongyang to shoot – clandestinely, semi-clandestinely and on various pretexts – those vast statues and eerie cityscapes. Werner Herzog’s Into the Inferno suggested the North Koreans’ defensive mindset had something to do with living in the shadow of a volcano, Mount Paektu. Norwegian director Morten Traavik told the extraordinary story of how obscure Slovenian art-rockers Laibach became the first Western band to play North Korea. Alvaro Longorio’s The Propaganda Game argued that North Korea is a zombie state, kept alive by the duplicitous interests of great powers, and Ross Adam and Robert Cannon’s The Lovers and the Despot is about the staggering true story of how in late 70s the movie-mad North Korean leader Kim Jong-il actually kidnapped a South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and his wife Choi Eun-hee, and forced them to work in his industry.

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Link : Napalm review – Claude Lanzmann’s gripping account of erotic encounter in North Korea


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