The Lovers and the Despot

Movie

They were the Brangelina of '70s South Korea-the romance between the debonair film director Shin Sang Ok and glamorous actress Choi Eun Hee took them to the heights of South Korean society. Fame took a toll on their love, but it also attracted unbelievable twists of fate.

The two find themselves kidnapped by the North Korean regime, and they are forced to play along with a bizarre filmmaking project led by superfan cinephile Kim Jong Il.

Enduring torture, imprisonment, and surveillance, their romance is rekindled, and they realize escape is only possible through filmmaking-but the smallest mistake in their plans could cost them their lives.

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66
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14
reviews
80/100
In this stranger-than-fiction doc, film legends Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee were held prisoner and forced to make films — then they made a break for it.
46d ago
80/100
A coolly gripping account of one of the most bizarre true-crime stories ever to emerge from the film world.
46d ago
An alluring and informative documentary providing a wonderfully illustrated glimpse into territory, and a personal story, hitherto less known.
46d ago
“Lovers” suggests that any film — even this one — can have the manipulative power of propaganda.
46d ago
70/100
Despite its flaws and will to kitsch, The Lovers and the Despot has enough enigmas and chills to merit a look, even if some of its spookier moments involve cinephilia rather tha...
46d ago
The Lovers and the Despot never finds time to examine at length the most fascinating of questions: What movies did a mind like Kim Jong-il's dream of? And within those dictates,...
46d ago
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