North Korea has long been painted as one of the globe's
most sinister regions.
of our understanding derives from the images we receive
from mainstream media and the country's own
self-produced propaganda, including lavish parades of
nuclear missiles and the people's slavish devotion to
revealing documentary 'Have Fun in Pyongyang' attempts to
deepen our understanding of everyday life in the country
by focusing on the lives of its citizens.
Shot over a period of eight years, the film traces an
evolving North Korea whose people have bravely weathered
endless conflicts and uncertainty.
real estate boom has taken hold in the country's capital
rise structures grace an impressive skyline.
Playgrounds, amusement parks and other leisure
activities are commonplace.
Much like in other parts of the world, marriage and
career are dominant and defining goals.
social hierarchies have been challenged, and arranged
marriages are no longer as widespread as they once were
just a few years ago.
culture seems to have embraced the concept of
'consumerism,' and the newly affluent class now enjoys
fine dining and other cultural perks.
apartments are equipped with fully functional computers,
and millions of citizens use cell phones.
Patriotism continues to motor the country's
filmmakers visit a shoe factory that works to copy
popular fashions from around the world while
strengthening its own inventory of imports.
is especially crucial as the country is continuously in
the crosshairs of international sanctions.
The signs of propaganda remain a constant throughout the
State-run schools focus on instilling the
unquestioning devotion of the country's past and present
Cameras are banned from capturing many aspects of North
Korean society, including any activities involving the
wherever the documentary cameras do roam - whether it be
a family gathering in a park or a group of friends
enjoying a night out at a bowling alley - we are faced
with a people whose hopes and dreams are not at all
'Have Fun in Pyongyang' is an eye-opening portrait of a
region that stokes much speculation from outsiders
across the globe, but very little first-hand
Directed by: Pierre-Olivier Francois