Literature, Music, and Film
Literature and music are other venues for politics. A series
of historical novels--Pulmyouui yoksa (Immortal History)--
depict the heroism and tragedy of the preliberation era. The
Korean War is the theme of Korea Fights and The Burning
Island. Since the late 1970s, five "great revolutionary
plays" have been promoted as prototypes of chuch'e
literature: The Shrine for a Tutelary Deity, a theatrical
rendition of The Flower Girl, Three Men, One Party,
"A Letter from a Daughter, and Hyolbun mangukhoe"
(Resentment at the World Conference).
"Revolutionary operas," derived from traditional Korean
operas, known as ch'angguk, often utilize variations on
Korean folk songs. Old fairy tales have also been transformed to
include revolutionary themes. As part of the chuch'e
policy of preserving the best from Korea's past, moreover,
premodern vernacular works such as the Sasong kibong
(Encounter of Four Persons) and the Ssangch'on kibong
(Encounter at the Two Rivers) have been reprinted.
Musical compositions include the "Song of General Kim Il
Sung," "Long Life and Good Health to the Leader," and "We Sing of
His Benevolent Love"--hymns that praise the "great leader."
According to a North Korean writer, "Our musicians have pursued
the party's policy of composing orchestral music based on famous
songs and folk songs popular among our people and produced
numerous instrumental pieces of a new type." This music includes
a symphony based on the theme of The Sea of Blood, which
has also been made into a revolutionary opera.
Motion pictures are recognized as "the most powerful medium
for educating the masses" and play a central role in "social
education." According to a North Korean source, "films for
children contribute to the formation of the rising generation,
with a view to creating a new kind of man, harmoniously evolved
and equipped with well-founded knowledge and a sound mind in a
sound body." One of the most influential films, "An Chung-gn
Shoots It Hirobumi," tells of the assassin who killed the
Japanese resident-general in Korea in 1909. An is depicted as a
courageous patriot, but one whose efforts to liberate Korea were
frustrated because, in the words of one reviewer, the masses had
not been united under "an outstanding leader who enunciates a
correct guiding thought and scientific strategy and tactics."
Folk tales such as "The Tale of Chun Hyang," about a nobleman who
marries a servant girl, and "The Tale of Ondal" have also been
made into films.
Data as of June 1993