The smell of petroleum is the fragrance of the people!
To be fair, I watch DPRK films in the spirit of RiffTrax & Mystery Science Theater 3000. I "riff" the movies, yelling at the screen and suggesting character dialogue when I'm not laughing:
LINE: "Mother, I'm hungry."
RIFF: "No shit. You live in North Korea."
LINE: "Your officer's apartment is so lovely."
RIFF: "Your family of six must have at least 400 sq ft of living space!"
My current favorite DPRK movie is called "Wish," a drama that was featured in Pyongyang's 2012 film festival. I'm not really sure how to describe the movie's genre; it's sort of a combination family drama/love story/coming-of-age-in-The-Ministry-of-Love piece. The film is pure North Korean propaganda, and when compared to American culture, its plot is chilling:
From the YouTube description: "Wish concerns the struggle of a young North Korean married couple to reconcile their personal emotions with their duty to the state and leadership. The hero and heroine realize that it is important to be a good public worker, but that one must also be sensitive and thoughtful in cultural and family life."
In other words, the state is more important than the lives of individual citizens.
* A wife prepares a ridiculously-large feast for a husband coming home late from work - enough food to host a small Thanksgiving. When hubby gets home, he says: "No thanks...I've already eaten." Apparently, he had kimchee at Wendy's.
* A neighbor throws a child's birthday party, with a spread that includes every kid's favorites: boiled chicken, boiled cabbage, and two bottles of water for eight people. Games include photos (to show we have a camera), and pictures posed on the apartment's loveseat (to show we have a couch).
* Two grandparents wait outside an apartment (in the dark, into the wee hours) just to wake their grand kid up and give him rice cakes & oranges. The food btw, is purposely placed/kept in the center of the shot to tell the world, "We're not starving. Look - our actors have oranges!"
My favorite Wish scene involves a housewife raising baby chicks on her tiny apartment balcony, in what's supposed to be a sign of wealth. (Message: We are so rich in the DPRK, we can afford to raise poultry on our 3'x 6' balcony). The scene - literally - comes across as a "Green Acres" episode, and all involved are totally clueless to the blatant urban poverty.
Rush Limbaugh once said that CBS's "DALLAS" was the reason that the USSR ultimately fell. Rush explained that the Soviets assumed all Americans lived like Ewings, so the citizens revolted - ending the Communist state. In many ways, our entertainment is doing the same thing for North Korea today - and there are definite signs that it's working. The DPRK government just struck a deal with the BBC to import Top Ride, Doctor Who, and the Teletubbies in an effort to compete with all the smuggled programming. Will it work? Who knows. But it's a definite sign that Kim Jung Ick is losing control. It's a shame that Team America isn't a real organization, because in addition to kicking out the Kims, they could show North Koreans what a genuinely funny film is like.