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North Korea

 
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North Korea

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

North Korea - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • THE SOCIETY AND ITS ENVIRONMENT


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