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Kim Jong-il documentary Lovers and the Despot trailer debuts

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Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

In 1978, South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee were abducted by North Korean dictactor Kim Jong-il. They were held captive for years and forced to make movies, one of the most famous being the Godzilla-inspired Pulgasari. They eventually escaped after making a total of 17 feature films, but their story remains one of cinema’s craziest true tales.

The Lovers and the Despot, a new documentary from Robert Cannan and Ross Adam, features testimonials from both Shin and Choi as they recount these events. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and Magnolia Pictures has now released the first trailer.

“Kim laughed out loud like a triumphant general,” says Choi, who fell in love with Shin prior to their captivity. “Like a puppet, I was told what to eat, I was even told what to wear.” 

The full story ofThe Lovers and the Despot will be told when the doc debuts in theaters on Sept. 23, along with simultaneous VOD, iTunes, and Amazon Video releases.