"If the North Koreans were using [a visibly disabled Westerner] for their own propaganda purposes, so was I - maybe in a more cynical and manipulative way." This idea ends up making this the most sincere and valuable North Korean infiltration documentary I've seen, right after I'd gotten weary and suspicious of them as all being more pro-Western than what they needed to be, which is sincerely anti-DPRK.
A Danish filmmaker and 2 comedians go to N. Korea, and come back with a surprisingly moving act of cinematic subversion. At once a gleefully underhanded "Punking" of the Dear Leader, and a frightening look at real life 1984 run amok.
I think the film makers set out to make a joke, a prank documentary and goof on the North Korean dictatorship. It quickly becomes very not funny for everybody, but that is what makes this film interesting; the way art can be consumed by a predatory force. Worth watching.
A film with a very curious effect. Our director/narrator announces his intent to "expose the evil of North Korea"—not exactly a controversial target—and his documentary methods in doing so can sometimes look reprehensible. But oddly, he seems to realize this, as the real hero of his film becomes a handicapped actor who favors empathy over cheap irony. As should we. 3.5 stars.
Brilliant! Mads Brugger has to not only be the ballsiest documentary maker out there today but also the one with the blackest sense of humour. If you loved the Ambassador you'll really enjoy this. He uses politically incorrect comedy as a trojan horse to assault politics-gone-wrong in North Korea. 4 stars
More about the North Korean's treatment of the handicapped than it is about comedy. We truly get a glimpse of the most unusual of circumstances: a culture, conditioned to view the handicap population as inferior [handicaps are either killed or sent off to work camps to die in North Korea] are faced with South Korean/Danish handicap Jacob. What do they learn? Well, first of all, that handicap people can be people too.
Mads Brügger is a frustrating filmmaker. His films always contain extremely fascinating concepts and elements, but he always abusively squanders them, no matter what people get trampled in his path, in order to make some completely unsurprising and underwhelming point.
A film in opposition with itself for the better. A tour de force of objecting subjective realities that dance with each other, challenging deep seeded perceptions on all fronts. Fronts that even Mads Brugger has to confront within himself. Red chapel grapples charged subjects all at once, with a kind of sincerity that can only be done when one puts oneself on the front lines. All of oneself.