Posts Tagged ‘Gaugin’
In all of the rumination on the death of Kim Jong Il, on his legacy, and on what his passing means for the future, there has been surprisingly little attention paid to the Dear Leader’s role as an avatar of the arts (he once wrote six operas in two years, the official North Korean News Agency reported), nor more particularly as a champion of the cinema.
Jong Il had a collection of over 20,000 foreign films (his favorites were apparently the Rambo series and Friday the 13th), and wrote several books on cinema– both critical works and “how-to.” Then, in 1978, his frustration with the lack of world-class directors in his domain led him to arrange for the kidnapping of South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and his actress ex-wife, Choi Eun-hee. They tried to escape but eventually relented, remarried at the encouragement of Jong Il, and made a string of movies for him including the Godzilla “homage” Pulgasari.
The following year, 1986, Shin and his wife escaped while attending a film festival in Vienna. Shin migrated to the U.S. where he directed (as “Simon Sheen’) 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up, then served as an executive producer on 3 Ninjas Kick Back and 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain. He returned to South Korea in 1994.
Meantime, the Dear Leader turned his attention to sport (on his 62nd birthday, he played his first round of golf, completing a par 72 course in 34 strokes, with a record 5 holes-in-one), to developing North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability, and to using that threat to leverage food aid for his starving people.
For more illustrations of the ways in which absolute power corrupts absolutely, see this Daily Mirror list of “Bizarre Details of the Dear Leader’s Life.”
As we sob uncontrollably, we might recall that it was on this date in 1888 that Vincent Van Gogh, after a heated argument with Paul Gaugin, cut off his own left ear.
Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear, Easel and Japanese Print, January 1889 (source)