Beyond Propaganda | Chicago Reader

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Two 2003 documentaries about North Korea and Taiwan, respectively. J.T. Takagi and Hye Jung Park's North Korea: Beyond the DMZ (60 min.) follows a young Korean-American woman from Brooklyn to Pyongyang, where she has close kin she's never met. The filmmakers visit another family whose commitment to hard work and self-improvement is inspiring, and who betray little sign of the brainwashing outsiders are told to anticipate. A historical overview makes the case that the U.S. is partly responsible for North Korea's isolationism. Dovar Chen's Into Air (45 min.) is a sumptuously photographed, poetically edited group portrait of Taiwanese farmers teetering on the brink of ruin thanks to the glut of agricultural imports that followed Taiwan's entry into the World Trade Organization.

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