There is little doubt that the regime in North Korea is one of the most odious and evil in human history. The level of cruelty, capriciousness, and sociopathy that characterizes this pseudo-religious totalitarian state is surreal (indeed, I dare say the villainy of NK government is almost Hollywood-worthy in how over-the-top and disturbingly cartoonish it can be).
While the exploits of its bizarre and ruthless leaders –namely the late Kim Jong-il — are well-known and the subject of many pop culture references, there are very few details about what everyday life in the regime is like. What little we know comes from either escapees, satellite images (which have captured the large network of labor camps), and the small coterie of people who manage to visit the notoriously isolationist state. Needless to say, their accounts are profoundly disturbing.
As it turns out, however, there was actually a documentary filmed in the country over a decade ago that managed to portray what conditions were like for average North Koreans. I’m not sure how this rare find managed to go under the radar, especially as it one the International Emmy award for Best Documentary — although I imagine that its release in 2001 was likely overshadowed by bigger events elsewhere in the world, as North Korea has only recently gained its level of notoriety)
Dutch filmmaker Peter Tetteroo and his associate Raymond Feddema spent a week in and around the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, where most of the filming takes place. How they managed to get in there, film nearly an hour of intimate footage, and make it out is beyond me (contrary to popular belief, people to visit North Korea, although its exceedingly difficult, and I doubt such filming is allowed).
In any case, this video is well worth your time. Fair warning — it’s probably one of the most disturbing things you’ll see in a while, which I doubt is surprising to anyone.