Viewers can get a look inside North Korea in the documentary “Under the Sun.”
The film is set to screen on Saturday at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
“Under the Sun” follows the life of Zin-mi, who is about to join the Korean Children’s Union on the Day of the Rising Star, otherwise known as former dictator Kim-Jong-il’s birthday. Director Vitaly Mansky and his crew were given access into North Korea under the condition the North Korean government could control all aspects of recording, said Chris Stults, assistant film and video curator at the Wex. While Mansky agreed, he and his crew also secretly shot extra footage that would eventually be used to create the documentary.
“He got all this footage of the behind-the-scenes stuff,” Stults said. “The kid actors are being coached by North Korean government officials and he was able to get that footage out of the country … It’s kind of this behind-the-scenes look of how North Korea wants to present itself, in a way.”
“Under the Sun” is included in Wex’s ongoing film program of New Documentaries, which has featured documentaries such as “Tower” and “Do Not Resist.” Stults said while some documentaries can create controversy, Stults said he sees “Under the Sun” as more eye-opening.
“Under the Sun” also examines how North Korea uses propaganda, Stults said. The North Korean government selected all the people who appeared in the film, the locations they could shoot at and every clip was inspected at the end of each day.
Propaganda can be used to communicate the message that everything in a country is functioning as a proper society, and in principle it seems OK, said Jos Raadschelders, professor in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. In reference to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative, Raadschelders said using a platform to address an issue like obesity is a type of campaign propaganda.
However, when the propaganda is used to mislead, that is when problems occur, he said. Much like “Under the Sun,” where the North Korean government officials attempt to filter what messages their population receives, propaganda isn’t always something one recognizes when they see it.
“Sometimes propaganda is what is not included or forcibly excluded,” Raadschelders said.
Tickets to see “Under the Sun” at the Wex cost $6 for students and $8 for the general public. It is set to start at 7 p.m.