Friday, February 12, 2010

An unusual documentary on North Korea

              Google Images
 City Center, Pyongyang. Barely anyone in the street.

Little is known (and in this case, it could actually mean you know "a lot") about what goes on on the other side of the DMZ border, where an entire nation is 100% ruled by one man, Kim Jong-il. It was driven by the idea of getting into North Korea and showing the world one of the insidest looks one could probably ever get at this mysterious isolated country, that Brooklyn-based VICE and VBS.TV founder Shane Smith, together with 15 other journalists, managed to get a tourist visa to enter NK in 2008 -- after having struggled for a year and a half to get it -- to now be able to share his experience with us.

Divided into 14 episodes, the documentary named 'The VICE Guide to North Korea' takes you on the freakiest journey you'll ever experience. "Perhaps the weirdest thing about North Koreans is that they genuinely don't seem to know that the rest of the planet hates and fears them", says Shane. The VBS founder also says that "being there was like being nowhere else on the planet."

Living here in South Korea, such an open and modern country, already feels a bit weird at times, as people's behavior, way of thinking and customs here are completely different from the ones in the western world. Therefore, I can sort of imagine how odd life must be across the border. I have met a few foreigners here who have gone to NK on package tours which are ridiculously expensive and you must go to China first. However, that's a trip I cannot wait to go on someday!

Now, watch part 1 of the documentary that CNN described on their web site as one that reflects "a very transparent approach to journalism, where viewers are taken along on every step of the reporting process."

For all the other episodes of The VICE Guide to North Korea, visit
This interesting reporting approach is definitely worthy of watching till the last minute of the last episode. So, toughen up if you have to and try and enjoy the ride!
To read what Shane Smith wrote about his crew's bizarre trip to North Korea published on CNN's web site on February 10th, 2010, click here.

VICE is an independent media company and web site based in Brooklyn, New York. VBS.TV is Vice's broadband television network.