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Camp 14: Total Control Zone [DVD]
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From director Mark Wiese comes the award winning, powerful story of Shin Dong-hyuk who was born as a political prisoner in a death camp in North-Korea. From the age of six, he was subjected to forced labour, hunger, beatings and torture. He was always at the mercy of the wardens, and knew nothing of the world outside the barbed-wire fences. He thought everybody lived that way. With the help of an older prisoner, he succeeded in escaping at the age of 23 and encountered a world completely strange to him. Camp 14: Total Control Zone offers a unique insight into this incredible story; from one of the few people who can talk first-hand about the ordeal of being raised in a North Korean prison camp. With CGI animation to bring his memories to life and the testimony of two former high-ranking North-Korean officers involved in the prison-camp system, Camp 14: Total Control Zone portrays shocking stories and perspectives in a film that is difficult to believe is real.
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Top Customer Reviews
The documentary itself is very slow moving, with long pauses, abstract shots and segments without any accompanying audio at all. Obviously featuring Shin's story mainly, there are splashes of animation and some graphic footage smuggled out from NK appearing every so often.
In addition to Shin, two ex-prison camp guards, now based in Seoul, appear throughout giving their experiences and stories, which made me wonder, with them being so open and honest about what they had done, how come they aren't tried and convicted for such heinous crimes? As I watched them tell their stories, I never seen the look of much regret in their faces, although one did state that he is plagued by guilt.
Shin is obviously very uncomfortable retelling his story, it is still very raw with him, it still hurts and still causes nightmares. I understand that he politely refuses many requests to tell his story. During this documentary, the cameras do follow him to a few meetings where he is testifying, in one occasion at a human rights convention and another at what looks to be a church gathering.
I would suggest reading Shin's book before watching this as the book covers more ground. This is an hour and a half of dark and harrowing detail from the most oppressive country on earth. It is a story which will shock many and raise awareness for what is happening to hundreds of thousands of ordinary Korean people today.
No doubt this seems clever to the people he was at film school with (and not that long ago, I suspect) but it's a criminal waste of an opportunity to tell a vitally important story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
found the documentary to be deeply captivating, this harrowing story is one that needs to be told.Published 18 months ago by Scott Andrews
Brilliant film. People can be so cruel and yet we can accept the cruelty. A must see documentary.Published 23 months ago by Julian Ward