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An Amazon Best of The Year Nonfiction Selection
The Extraordinary True Story of Kim Jong-Il’s kidnapping of the golden couple of South Korean Cinema, The Movies They Were Forced to Make, and Their Daring Escape.
Before becoming the world’s most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda and all its film studios. Underwhelmed by the pool of talent available to him he took drastic steps, ordering the kidnap of Choi Eun-Hee (Madame Choi) – South Korea’s most famous actress – and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country’s most famous filmmaker. But as Madame Choi and Shin Shang-Ok begin to make North Korea’s greatest films, they hatch a plan of escape worthy of a blockbuster Hollywood ending. A Kim Jong-Il Production is that rarest of books: a wildly entertaining, cunningly told story that offers a rare glimpse into a nation still wrapped in mystery.
“Gripping… A Kim Jong-Il Production tells the absurd, harrowing, and true story of Choi and Shin's ordeal, which reveals the importance of film as propaganda to the North Korean regime.” —Esquire.com
“The 1978 abductions of the South Korean actress Choi-Eun-He 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
“An entertaining new book…details how [Shin and Choi] finally seized their chance to seek asylum…A stupefying, novelistic read.” —The Boston Globe
“Fischer's entertaining narrative paints an arresting portrait of a North Korean "theater state," forced to enact the demented script of a sociopathic tyrant.” —Publishers Weekly
“Paul Fischer's book A Kim Jong-Il Production is a highly illuminating deep dive on the middle Kim's cinematic obsessions and the film arms race between the two Koreas.” —The Washington Post
“Exhaustively researched, highly engrossing chronicle of the outrageous abduction of a pair of well-known South Korean filmmakers by the nefarious network of North Korea's Kim Jong-Il.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)