Comrade Kim Goes Flying

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Comrade Kim Goes Flying
Comrade Kim Goes Flying (film).jpg
Film poster
Directed byKim Gwang Hun
Nicholas Bonner
Anja Daelemans
Produced byAnja Daelemans
Nicholas Bonner
Ryom Mi Hwa
Written bySin Myong Sik
Kim Chol
StarringHan Jong Sim
Pak Chung Guk
Release date
  • 9 September 2012 (2012-09-09) (Toronto Film Festival)
CountryUnited Kingdom
North Korea

Comrade Kim Goes Flying is a 2012 joint British-Belgian-North Korean romantic comedy feature film,[1] set and filmed in Pyongyang, North Korea.[2]


"Comrade Kim Yong Mi is a North Korean coal miner. Her dream of becoming a trapeze artist is crushed by the arrogant trapeze star Pak Jang Phil, who believes miners belong underground and not in the air".[3] Co-director Nicholas Bonner described it as a "girl-power fairy tale about dreaming to fly", adding that his hope was "for Korean audiences to see the film on both sides of the border and be entertained".[1] The three producers reportedly "steered [the North Korean writers] toward comedy and away from the more predictable propaganda line of triumph through hard work".[1] The programmer for Toronto described the film in these terms: "A winning, life-affirming fable about a young coal miner’s pursuit of her dream to become an acrobat, Comrade Kim Goes Flying marks a milestone in film history: it is the first Western-financed fiction feature made entirely in North Korea".[4]


The film is directed by Kim Gwang Hun, Nicholas Bonner and Anja Daelemans; produced by Anja Daelemans, Nicholas Bonner and Ryom Mi Hwa; and written by Sin Myong Sik and Kim Chol.[5][3]

The main cast is as follows:[5]

  • Han Jong Sim as Kim Yong Mi ("Comrade Kim")
  • Pak Chung Guk as Pak Jang Phil
  • Ri Yong Ho as Commander Sok Gun
  • Kim Son Nam as Yong Mi's father
  • Ri Ik Sung as the coal mine manager
  • Kim Un Yong as Ri Su Hyon (trapeze artist)
  • Han Kil Myong as Yong Mi's Grandmother
  • An Chang Sun as Jang Phil's mother


It is a coproduction between Belgian production company Another Dimension of an Idea, the Korea Film Export & Import Corporation, and British travel company Koryo Group.[5][3] It is the fourth film produced by Koryo Group in co-operation with North Korea. The previous three films The Game of Their Lives (2002), A State of Mind (2004) and Crossing the Line (2006) were documentaries. Comrade Kim Goes Flying was shot in Pyongyang, with a North Korean cast and crew.[2]


Comrade Kim Goes Flying premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2012.[5] The film also showed at the 2012 Pyongyang International Film Festival.[2][6] In October, it was shown at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea.[7] In March 2013 it played in the United States, with the Wall Street Journal calling it a "feel-good style of a Doris DayRock Hudson picture".[8] The film was screened at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in July 2018.[9]

Reviewing the film for Variety, Jay Weissberg wrote: "Comrade Kim Goes Flying proves that cooperation with the West really is possible, at least in cinema. A candy-hued throwback to a chirpy Technicolor time when pluck wins out and 'postmodern' wasn't yet invented, this 'let's put on a show!' tale of a young woman miner's dream of becoming an acrobat has been winning hearts since preeming at Toronto".[10]


  1. ^ a b c "Filming a North Korean Dream", The New York Times, 30 July 2012
  2. ^ a b c Koryo Quarterly newsletter Archived 16 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine., August 2008
  3. ^ a b c "Comrade Kim Goes Flying", Toronto Film Festival
  4. ^ Films and schedules, Toronto International FIlm Festival
  5. ^ a b c d "Official website". Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  6. ^ "News and Media" Archived 23 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Pyongyang International Film Festival, 22 March 2012
  7. ^ "Le camarade Kim, invité posthume du Festival de Busan", Le Monde, 12 October 2012
  8. ^ Romantic North Korea 20 March 2013. The Wall Street Journal
  9. ^ "S. Korea approves rare screening of N. Korea films". AFP. July 10, 2018.
  10. ^ "Film Review: ‘Comrade Kim Goes Flying’", Variety, 9 March 2013

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