It seems that North Koreans want to see “The Interview,” and their government is going to great lengths to stop it from coming into the country. In fact, people are willing to pay as much as $50 per copy to see the film, which is ten times higher than what DVDs of South Korean TV shows sell for on the black market, according to Business Insider.
Business Insider is also reporting that the Ministry of People’s Security and the State Security Department held an emergency meeting to try and make sure the film doesn’t get into the country under any circumstances. They have strengthened border security, and they’ve even told black marketers not to bring any U.S. films into the country.
For those who don’t know, “The Interview” pokes considerable fun at North Korea, its problems, and its government, and includes an assassination of Kim Jong-un — North Korea’s current leader and son of the late Kim Jong il. There was a lot of anger in the U.S. when Sony decided not to release the film on Christmas Day, after several major theater chains said that they wouldn’t play it.
Rich Klein wrote in the Washington Post that “The Interview” does actually work to subvert the North Korean government. Despite its lowbrow humor, Klein believes that if enough people around the world—and in North Korea—see it, it would undermine the legitimacy of the leadership.
Which is probably why North Koreans are so eager to see it. An organization called Liberty in North Korea says that there is no freedom of movement there; no freedom of speech, no religious freedom, no freedom of information, and forced adulation of the country’s leadership, among other serious problems.
We in the U.S. would likely be horrified if a country released a film poking fun at all our problems, and ended with the assassination of our president. However, a truly oppressed people living like those in North Korea might actually rejoice in this kind of film, because, if nothing else, it allows them to live a fantasy vicariously for a few moments.
That makes this both sad and comical. It shows that the North Korean government, like other oppressive, dictatorial regimes, doesn’t have the control they think they have over the minds of their people. To hang on to their power, they’ll tighten their fist, rather than reforming their government or giving power up altogether.
“The Interview” exposes some dangerous truths of North Korea under the guise of comedy. Klein says that they intentionally explored dangerous content in making the film. He correctly points out that satire is a legitimate way to challenge ideas, and the best satire exposes truths that are uncomfortable, or even painful.
That’s what’s happened with “The Interview,” and why North Koreans are so eager to see it. It’s also why the North Korean government is working so hard to make sure it never enters its borders. The plight of North Koreans could, and should, also serve as a wake-up call for right-wing nutjobs who are crying about being oppressed here.
Featured image via Showbiz 411