Nat Geo docuseries Inside North Korea’s Dynasty covers Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee abductions: Watch an exclusive clip

Kim Jong-Il, the second leader of North Korea and an avid movie fan, gives advice on the set of film “An Jung Geun Avenges Hirobumi Ito” in March 1979. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images)

Fascinating docuseries Inside North Korea’s Dynasty starts tonight on National Geographic Channel.

It is a profoundly chilling, enlightening and informative look at one of the most reclusive dynasties and countries on the planet.

Monsters and Critics was given an exclusive clip from the second episode that shows the press conference confronting the abduction of Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee, a film director and his actress wife.

Sang-ok was a South Korean film director married to Eun-hee. They created Shin Film and were creatively productive during the 1960s.

But in 1978 Choi was suddenly abducted and taken to North Korea to meet Kim Jong-il. The abduction of Shin followed about six months later.

Shin Sang-ok (R) and Choi Eun-hee (L) were imprisoned, then made to serve North Korea's Kim Jong-il at his cinematic whims. Pic credit: Nat Geo
Choi Eun-hee, left, and Shin Sang-ok, right, were imprisoned, then made to serve North Korea’s Kim Jong Il at his cinematic whims. Pic credit: Nat Geo

This was no ordinary abduction. After three years in prison, Shin was able to reconnect with his wife Choi, and the two became enslaved to making films for Kim Jong Il to boost North Korea’s film industry.

Not until 1986 did Choi and Shin escape from North Korea’s clutches to a US embassy in Vienna.

Kim Jong-Il, the second leader of North Korea was a huge movie fan, here he is on the set of film "An Jung Geun Avenges Hirobumi Ito" in March 1979. Pic credit: Nat Geo
Kim Jong Il, the second leader of North Korea, was a huge movie fan. Here he is on the set of film “An Jung Geun Avenges Hirobumi Ito” in March 1979. Pic credit: Nat Geo

This groundbreaking four-episode documentary series is a thorough history of the world’s only communist dynasty, three generations in power.

It took one year of production to film what is an extraordinary look at a closeted regime that rules with a godlike authority inside a country riddled with starvation and absolute obedience.

According to the network, the series: “Provides a look at the Kim dynasty more complex and comprehensive than ever attempted before, revealing the workings behind the formidable family dynamics at the heart of an extraordinary country.”

The illustration shows Kim Il Sung as a fighter in the Korean Army.  Pic credit: Nat Geo

The world is currently living with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who has been in a push-pull relationship on a global stage with President Donald Trump.

The two met in Singapore after numerous back and forth mixed messages in the media. This was capped off by Trump’s “we fell in love over beautiful letters” remarks.  A big change from the more incendiary comments POTUS had for Jon Un a year previously, calling him “little rocket man.”

To understand the elusive Kim and his place in the history of North Korea, there is a dial-back of about 70 years when the dynasty was established.

The series does this artfully by spanning multiple decades, beginning with the rise of the dynasty founder, Kim Il Sun, through his son, Kim Jong Il, and to his grandson the current leader, Kim Jong Un.

They ruled in the “hermit kingdom” of North Korea, cloistered from prying eyes and oversight by neighboring nations, cut off from the west and closed to outsiders. They were and are able to create new truths out of falsehoods and make the free press or any dissenting voices vanish.

One minor guerrilla fighter, Kim Il Sun, emerged from the battlefield to lead a country desperate for a cohesiveness, and strong leadership. The four-part series will peel away layers hiding the secretive communist regime by taking a look at its mysterious ruling family.

The Kim family is revealed studiously through archival footage and key interviews.

Unusual American ambassador of goodwill, basketballer Dennis Rodman, is also in the documentary. Rodman’s ties to Kim started during a controversial visit to North Korea in early 2013 when he called Kim “a friend for life”.

Producers of the docuseries, 72 Films, said:

We immersed ourselves in this project for a year, looking through archives that have not been viewed in decades and interviewing almost 50 people with perspectives that could shed light on this dynasty. Going in via the family was a fresh way to unlock North Korea. All three leaders are fascinating in their own right. They have all chosen to use their extraordinary power in different ways. The result is a film that is as unique in scope and depth as it is in insight and relevance.

Inside North Korea’s Dynasty airs Sunday, Nov. 11, and  Sunday, Nov. 18, on National Geographic in the US and globally in 171 countries and 43 languages.

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