Under the Sun

Politics/Everyday life, North Korea/Russia 2016

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North Korea is the most beautiful country in the world! This is what 8-year-old Zin-mi from Pyongyang hears every day from her parents, at school and over rumbling loudspeakers in the wide squares of the city. Of course she believes it. Out of deepest conviction she pays homage to the "great leader" Kim Jong-un and eagerly prepares for her ceremonial acceptance by the young pioneers, with which she finally becomes a full member of the socialist state. The Russian-Ukrainian director Vitaly Mansky has accompanied Zin-mi for one year. Although he received an official filming permit for this, he was under permanent control of the regime. This provided a precise script for the "documentary film", selected locations and interview partners and posted guards on the set to direct the scenes. The state wanted propaganda: an exemplary child in an exemplary environment. But Mansky kept the camera running even during the careful set up of the shots and explained his material with a commentary. In this way he actually documents a merciless staging. In fact, nothing in North Korea is as it should seem! "Im Strahl der Sonne" shows people who are pulled by the state like puppets and constantly have to fear to do something wrong. But the film also provides fascinating insights into public life in North Korea: patriotic appeals in front of larger-than-life Kim sculptures or the almost silent commuter traffic in a sterile, shiny subway. "I wanted to make a film about real life in North Korea," explains Mansky, "but there is no real life as we know it. There's just a certain idea of 'real' life. Our film shows a big deception in reality." "Im Strahl der Sonne" had its celebrated premiere at the Dok Leipzig. At the film festival in Tallinn, Estonia, it was the only documentary film to beat the feature film competition in the International Competition and received two prizes: the award for best director and the special jury prize.
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Black Nights Film Festival Talinn 2015 Special prize of the jury
Black Nights Film Festival Tallinn 2015 Best director
International Dok Film Festival Jihlava 2015 Best film

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Vitaly Mansky


Karlis Auzans

Original title:

V Paprscich Slunce

Original language:


Further titles:

Inside Nordkorea

V luchakh solntsa


16:9 HD, Color

Age recommendation of the KJF:

Starting at 12 years

Age rating:


Audio language: