The Red Chapel

Mads Brügger

Denmark, 2009, 1h 28min.


But Brügger’s own voice-over quickly corrects the situation: in fact he is only pretending to read the book, because every day after shooting Brügger and his crew had to submit their tapes to a group of specialists to ensure that the content was full of nothing more than love and respect for the Dear Leader.

In 2006, journalist Brügger and his small Danish theatre troupe, The Red Chapel, were granted permission by the merciless North Korea regime to enter to the country as part of a cultural exchange and to perform at special events to selected audiences. That is at least what the North Korean officials thought they were permitting – and so begins the duality of Brügger’s hysterically bold doc-spectacle, all occurring in one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. We follow Brügger and his two performers, Jacob Nossel and Simon Jul, both of whom were born in Korea and raised in Denmark, as they comply to the wishes and requests of their North Korean hosts – bowing to statues of the Dear Leader, sight-seeing with their motherly guide and translator, Mrs. Pak, while making everyone laugh and swallowing the propaganda.

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