A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

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9781250054265: A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power
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"The 1978 abductions of the South Korean actress Choi-Eun-hee and her ex-husband, the director Shin Sang-ok, in Hong Kong is the true crime at the center of Paul Fischer's gripping and surprisingly timely new book."
-The New York Times

Before becoming the world's most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea's Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios. Conceiving every movie made, he acted as producer and screenwriter. Despite this control, he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps, ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun-Hee (Madam Choi)-South Korea's most famous actress-and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country's most famous filmmaker.

Madam Choi vanished first. When Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate, he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea. Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury, allowed only to attend the Dear Leader's dinner parties. Shin, meanwhile, tried to escape, was sent to prison camp, and "re-educated." After four years he cracked, pledging loyalty. Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends, it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader's film advisors. Together they made seven films, in the process gaining Kim Jong-Il's trust. While pretending to research a film in Vienna, they flee to the U.S. embassy and are swept to safety.

A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, author Paul Fischer's A Kim Jong-Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea's history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: There was a time when the duo of Shin Sang-Ok and Choi Eun-Hee seemed unassailable. Shin was the extraordinarily successful South Korean movie director and producer; his beautiful wife Choi was his top star and muse, a woman who had elevated herself from a difficult early life to become the envy of men and women alike. From the late 50s until the early 70s, the duo ruled—but divorce, scandal, and diminishing star power brought them back to earth. Little did they know, it was about to get much, much worse. Paul Fischer’s A Kim Jong-Il Production is the bizarre and fascinating true story of Shin and Choi’s kidnapping by Kim Jong-Il, future Supreme Leader of North Korea (at the time he was son to the then-Supreme Leader). Shin and Choi, who were kidnapped in 1978, went on to make a number of films in North Korea (as the “guest” of Kim Jong-Il) before escaping to the U.S. in 1986. There’s a Through the Looking Glass feel to this book, despite it being extremely well-researched and believable, that makes it highly entertaining reading. I had a difficult time putting this book down until I was finished. – Chris Schluep

About the Author:

PAUL FISCHER is a film producer who studied social sciences at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and film at the University of Southern California and the New York Film Academy. Paul's first feature film, the documentary Radioman, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Doc NYC film festival and was released to critical and commercial acclaim. A Kim Jong-Il Production is his first book.

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9781250054272: A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

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ISBN 10:  1250054273 ISBN 13:  9781250054272
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9781410479747: A Kim Jong-Il Production (Thorndike Press Large Print Popular and Narrative Nonfiction)

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