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The Juche Idea

Distributed by Kino Lorber Edu, 333 West 39 St, Suite 503, New York, NY 10018; 212-629-6880
Produced by Jim Finn
Directed by Jim Finn
DVD, color, 62 min.
College - General Adult
Film Studies

Reviewed by Rue McKenzie, University of South Florida, Tampa

Recommended with reservations   
Date Entered: 9/8/2011

Jim Finnís The Juche Idea is one of those docu-fiction mockumentary experimental films that can be purposefully enjoyable, invigorating, thought-provoking, tedious, and challenging all at the same time. As a result, it is difficult to find the best approach to review the film. On the surface, it is the fictional account of a South Korean filmmakerís experiences while visiting a North Korean artistís colony. The documentary-type footage is interspersed with short films she is producing (with titles such as The Tiny Dentures of Imperialism) mixed with scenes from actual North Korean dramas and propaganda films.

There are some great moments of irony, or outright silliness. And there are moments that give the viewer serious pause to consider various styles of communication. Ultimately, I think Jim Finn is holding up the proverbial mirror to the process of filmmaking in general while examining the ideals of Kim Jong-Ilís regime, particularly as they are reflected in film.

While the film is certainly unique in concept, it can be very difficult to view. Sometimes there is just so much happening both visually and aurally, the film can overwhelm (and at times maybe underwhelm) the viewer. That said, The Juche Idea would certainly be a valuable resource in film studies courses, and no doubt worthwhile viewing for the more sophisticated, or at least dedicated, film viewer.

Recommended with reservations.


  • Winner, Best Narrative Film, Chicago Underground, 2008