Beyond Identity and Little Pyongyang


Their paths crossed through the North Korean community in London, and they had an idea.

In the news, we often hear Kim Jong-Un’s perspective, but we rarely hear from North Koreans themselves. Filmmakers Doh Lee and Roxy Rezvany, each decided to make their own videos on a group of North Koreans when their paths crossed through the North Korean community living in New Malden in London. Interestingly, both artists state that the subject matter had been on their mind since 2014, and both were approached by acquaintances who offered to put them in touch with the community leader. Although they were both on completely separate journeys of their own, they decided to create their own short film, voicing North Koreans’ frustration, feelings and state of mind, when they realised that it was possible to capture North Koreans themselves in London.

You can watch the videos below (‘Beyond Identity’ by Doh Lee and ‘Little Pyongyang’ by Roxy Rezvany). Doh’s direction is very different to Roxy’s. Doh wanted the audience to get a sense of the struggle to escape North Korea while watching his film. The numbers counting in the film indicate the hours of the escape journey while trying to reach to China. On the other hand, Roxy created a Wes Anderson-influenced film to encourage people who aren’t into current affairs to watch it, and to convey her message to a wider audience.

Although the directors take a completely different approach to storytelling, they do communicate the same message, however, which is the juxtaposition of North Koreans’ feelings: the refugees feel great regret, pain and sadness but also joy and happiness when they talk about North Korea.

Imagining a collaboration between the two! It would be lovely..