Who really knows anything about North Korea beyond its borders? Whatever we see or hear about this isolated land is always the same: Military parades with tanks and rockets, male and female soldiers marching like robots, threats of war, famine, obedient children and not least of all, three generations of dictators and their hysterically adoring followers. Award-winning filmmaker Sung-Hyung Cho pursues this question from right within its midst – in North Korea.
MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE NORTH portrays the people behind the persistent clichés and stereotypes of a misunderstood nation and provides an in-depth look behind the garish façade of propaganda in a living environment that is usually inaccessible to us. The people encountered by the director on her journey through the country – engineers, soldiers, farmers, painters, seamstresses – are not chance acquaintances, they were chosen by the regime. Nevertheless, Cho approaches her protagonists with sincere interest, respect and most of all, devoid of any judgement. Thus appears a cheerful folk who, despite their often peculiar-seeming love towards their “leader”, have by no means given up on their dreams or the hope of a reunification of both Koreas.
Filmmaker Sung-Hyung Cho grew up in South Korea with the notion that her neighbouring country in the north was populated by monsters: At school she was taught that North Koreans had red skin and two horns on their heads. As the first South Korean filmmaker to ever receive official permission to film in the country beyond its borders, Cho acquired the chance to bid farewell to her prejudices and revise her preconceived image of people in North Korea.