North Koreans rush to buy The Interview bootleg DVDs, as government cracks down on film

Domestic release is dangerous for North Korean officials, who portray leader Kim Jong-Un as a divine figure

Click to follow
The Independent Online

North Koreans are rushing to buy The Interview on bootleg DVDs, defying the North Korean government to see the film that mocks the country’s leader.

North Koreans are paying as much as £30 for copies of the film, around ten times as much as South Korean TV shows usually cost on the country’s black market, according to Free North Korea Radio, an online radio network made by defectors from North Korea.

The country is said to be working hard to stop the film getting into the country, including ramping up its border security and cracking down on DVDs of all US films.

While the film’s release in the US may have angered officials in North Korea — and the country has been implicated in the hack that took down Sony Pictures, supposedly in response to the film — it is dangerous in North Korea, because it mocks Kim Jong-Un who is painted as an almost divine figure to normal North Koreans.

“There are serious riffs on North Korea's gulags and horrifying human rights record, decades of famine, brainwashing propaganda, and cartoonish self-importance,” Rich Klein, a consultant who works with Hollywood on films that deal with complex international situations, wrote in the Washington Post.

“When The Interview veers in to these sociopolitical realities and with some 45 million people worldwide having watched Rogen’s last two movies, it becomes quite subversive to the Pyongyang government.”

One of North Korea’s most famous defectors, described as the country’s enemy number one, is attempting to get the film into the country by dropping it from hydrogen balloons, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.