Japanese theatrical poster
|Directed by||Shin Sang-ok
Chong Gon Jo
|Produced by||Kim Jong-il
|Written by||Kim Se Ryun|
|Starring||Chang Son Hui
Ham Gi Sop
|Music by||So Jong Gon|
|Cinematography||Cho Myong Hyon
Pak Sung Ho
|Editing by||Kim Ryon Sun|
|Distributed by||Korean Film Studio
|Release date(s)||North Korea:
1998, July 4
|Running time||95 min|
Pulgasari is a 1985 North Korean fantasy action film directed by Shin Sang-ok and Chong Gon Jo. The film, a giant-monster film similar to the Japanese Godzilla series, was produced by the South Korean Shin, who had been kidnapped in 1978 by North Korean intelligence on the orders of Kim Jong-il, son of the then-ruling Kim Il-sung.
Kim was a lifelong admirer of the director and Kaiju-like films, and kidnapped the latter and his wife, famous actress Choi Eun-hee, with the specific purpose of making fantasy/propaganda films for the North Korean government. Kim Jong-il also produced Pulgasari and all the films that Sang-ok made before he and Choi fled the country.
Teruyoshi Nakano and the staff from Japan's Toho studios, the creators of Godzilla, participated in creating the film's special effects. Kenpachiro Satsuma – the stunt performer who played Godzilla from 1984 to 1995 – portrayed Pulgasari, and when the Godzilla remake was released in Japan in 1998, he was quoted as saying he preferred Pulgasari to the American Godzilla.
In feudal Korea, during the Goryeo Dynasty, a King controls the land with an iron fist, subjecting the peasantry to misery and starvation. An old blacksmith who was sent to prison creates a tiny figurine of a monster by making a doll of rice. When it comes into contact with the blood of the blacksmith's daughter, the creature springs to life, becoming a giant metal-eating monster named Pulgasari.
The evil King becomes aware that there is a rebellion being planned in the country, which he intends to crush, but he runs into Pulgasari, who fights with the peasant army to overthrow the corrupt monarchy.
Pulgasari has gained some popularity over the years because of the shocking story of Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee's kidnapping and strange captivity as the director and leading actress - the latter one excluding this film - of a total of seven films, for which the couple was simultaneously commissioned and forced to do by North Korea's government. Jonathan Ross stated that the film is intended to be a propaganda metaphor for the effects of unchecked capitalism and the power of the collective.
See also 
- Culture of North Korea
- List of North Korean films
- List of films set in or about North Korea
- Propaganda in North Korea
- Backrow Banter, The Dear Leader, The Director And The Director’s Wife
- First NK Monster Faces Hollywood-Born Godzilla in Japan The People's Korea
- Choe, Sang-Hun; Torchia, Christopher (2002). "Eat, Eat: Rice Is Everything". How Koreans Talk. pp. 024–025. ISBN 89-87976-95-5. "He ate like a Bulgasari eating metal."
- "A KIM JONG IL PRODUCTIO". New Yorker. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Taylor, Ben. Apocalypse on the Set: Nine Disastrous Film Productions. Overlook Hardcover. pp. 168–169. ISBN 146830013X.
- Pulgasari at the Internet Movie Database
- N. Korean movies' propaganda role BBC
- Goo Movies (Japanese)
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