Under the Sun
Location: Redstone Theater
Dir. Vitaly Mansky, 2015, 106 mins. DCP. In Korean with English subtitles. After years of negotiations, Russian director Vitaly Mansky was granted permission by the North Korean government to film a documentary about an eight-year-old patriot and her hard-working family in Pyongyang. Considering the restrictions and controls set by government-assigned handlers, not to mention outright scripted fabrications, Mansky became less documentarian than tool of propaganda. Or he would have been, if not for one crucial act of rebellion: He kept the camera rolling before and after each scene, offering an unprecedented, and surprisingly poignant glimpse into the machinations of image control. Mansky’s Independent Spirit-nominated marvel does more than just expose the charade of totalitarianism, it looks with empathy and subtle self-identification at those who have parts they are obliged to play.
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