Under the Sun
Sub soarele Partidului
В лучах Солнца (V luchakh solnca)
On the birthday of Kim Il-Sung, along with hundreds of other children, eight-year-old Zin-mi is going to join the Korean Children’s Union. Over the course of one year, film-maker Vitaly Mansky followed the life of Zin-mi and her family – allegedly an ordinary family from Pyongyang – after making the North Korean regime an official production partner to their film and allowing officials complete control over the script. Yet, despite being watched constantly by government minders, Mansky found a way to expose the propaganda machine by leaving the camera running almost continuously, during the meticulous set up of each shot. The result is spectacular: a family-lunch scene is reshot several times, until the pre-written dialogue of the family members sounds just right; a factory forewoman repeats a speech congratulating workers on their productivity until the government representative is happy with the enthusiasm in her voice. Rare scenes captured on the streets reveal the contrast between the grey of everyday life and the explosion of colour in the carefully choreographed rallies involving hundreds of smiling participants. And young Zin-Mi, always ready for yet another performance as an ideal girl living in an ideal world, weeps gently on camera when the weight of the propaganda machine gets too much for her.