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Archive - 10th Five Flavours Film Festival

Comrade Kim Goes Flying

North Korea, Belgium, United Kingdom 2012, 78’
subtitles: Polish and English
director: Kim Gwang Hun, Nicholas Bonner, Anja Daelemans
screenplay: Sin Myong Sik, Kim Chol
cinematography: Hwang Jin Sok
editing: Kim Yun Sim, Alain Dessauvage
music: Ham Chol, Frederik Van de Moortel
cast: Han Jong Sim, Pak Chung Guk, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Son Nam, Han Kil Myong, An Chang Sun
producer: Ryom Mi Hwa, Nicholas Bonner, Anja Daelemans
production: Another Dimension of an Idea, Korea Film Export & Import Corporation, Koryo Group
language: Korean
colouration: colour

Awards and festivals

Pyongyang IFF 2012 - Best Director; Toronto IFF 2012; Busan IFF 2012; TAipei Golden Horse FF 2012; Rotterdam IFF 2013; Vilnius IFF 2013; Hawaii IFF 2013; Udine Far East FF 2013; Sydney FF 2013; New York Asian FF 2013; Gwangju IFF 2013

Film description

Comrade Kim Yong Mi is an energetic miner with a wide smile, well-liked by her co-workers and the people of her provincial hometown. Her secret passion is rhythmic gymnastics – as a child, she dreamed of being an acrobat, and now the evolutions are her favorite pastime. But when the excellent work record allows her to get a job at a construction site in Pyongyang, where auditions for a prestigious circus acrobat group are held, her heart lights up in a spark of hope.

"Comrade Kim Goes Flying" is a captivating emancipation story about the power of dreams and the determination to fight for them despite all obstacles. The film is made in a slightly sugary convention, but it is filled with irresistibly honest emotions. Despite its idealized vision of the world, the authors show the difficult, physical labor of the girl as she is trying to fulfill her dream – the pains of training, fighting her own body, the physical struggle. The acrobat playing Kim, Han Jong-sim, is not a professional actress. Her career developed similarly to her character's – from living in a small town to being a star on stage.

The film is unique for may reasons – it was made in North Korea with local actors and crew, but the post-production took place in Belgium and China. It has three directors: Anja Daelemans from Belgium, Nicholas Bonner, an Englishman who has lived in Korea for many years, and Kim Gwang-hun, a North Korean military cinema specialist. At first, Daelemans and Bonner wanted to shoot a short feature, but the story began to develop. They convinced producer Ryom Mi-hwa to engage in the project. Her connections in the film industry made the film possible, and she recruited the third director (he was indispensable, as Daelemans and Bonner were not allowed to be on set at certain locations, such as the mine). Preparations took over three years, as the script went through successive stages of approval. The film turned out to be so successful, locally and abroad, that a series about its making is currently being produced.

Jagoda Murczyńska

Kim Gwang Hun

Graduate of the Academy of Film and Theater in Pyongyang. Since, 1985 he worked as an assistant director, and in 2002 he made his debut film, "Unforgettable Man." He worked mostly on military productions. "Comrade Kim" was his chance of changing the stylistic and to visit Beijing, where part of the post-production took place. 

Anja Daelemans

Studied radio and TV directing in Brussels, but worked mostly as a producer of many TV series and films, including two Oscar-nominated shorts ("Fait d'Hiver" and "Tanghi Argentini"). "Comrade Kim" is her directorial debut.

Nicholas Bonner

Landscape architect and founder of Koryo Group, a company specializing in tourism and cultural exchange with North Korea. He lives in Beijing, regularly visiting North Korea. He produced several documents, including Daniel Gordon's "The Game of their Lives" about the North Korean soccer team's victory over Italy in the 1966 World Cup.

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