Articles & Notes — December 26, 2011 at 7:10 am

Kim Jong-Il’s “giant iron-eating bull”

This is unbelievable. I didn’t even know that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (who died a week ago) was a filmmaker. Technically he wasn’t, but he did produce “Pulgasari” a 1985 monster movie, shot in North Korea.

The story of the film goes like this: In feudal Korea, the evil King becomes aware that there is a peasant rebellion being planned in the country. He steals all the iron farming tools and cooking pots from the people so that he may make weapons to fend off the peasant army.

After he returns the property to the people, an old blacksmith is imprisoned and starved to death. His last creation is a tiny figurine of a monster- Pulgasari, a Godzilla-like creature (bull) that eats iron. The blood of his daughter brings the creature to life, and fights with the poor, starving peasants to overthrow the corrupt monarchy.

Kim Jong-Il was the producer of the film. Rumor has it, young director of the film Kim Jong-Il had to kidnap a South Korean director, Shin Sang-Ok, and his actress wife, Choe Un-Hee, and hold them captive for eight years in order to produce the film can only be said to add to its visual and rhetorical power.

Kim died aged 69, during the train trip to one of North Korea’s regions. Some media reported that Kim in fact died couple of days earlier and North Korean officials were able to hold the news “dead” for 2 days, after that it went viral. A local North Korean news agency described one of his sons, Kim Jong-un, as the “great successor” whom North Koreans should unite behind.

Anyway, this was a news for me, that Kim actually was involved in making a monster movie. That’s anothe reason to find it and give it a look. Afterall, a “giant iron-eating bull fighting for justice in Korea” – what can be better? 🙂



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