Although we have a pretty good idea of what life is like in North Korea, most of what we actually see comes from carefully controlled images released by the government. “Enter Pyongyang” is an incredibly beautiful video that was shot by a Beijing-based tour company, and it might give us the most honest look yet at the North Korean capital.
The video comes courtesy of Koryo Tours, the same folks who curated an incredible exhibition of speculative projects by North Korean architects and who have been organising tours of the country for 21 years. Still, even with their connections, it wasn’t easy to get these shots, according to the creative team, which consisted of filmmaker Rob Whitworth and creative director JT Singh.
“This was one of the most exceptional trips to Pyongyang I’ve ever experienced,” Koryo Tours’ Vicky Mohieddeen says. “From convincing security at the Grand People’s Study House to enact a lock-in so we could capture the sun setting over Kim Il Sung Square, to negotiating with traffic police commanders to allow us to hyper-lapse through the streets of Pyongyang, during the making of this film we did many things previously thought impossible. The end product is a testament to Rob and JT’s well-honed time-lapse skills.”
Still, though, you have to wonder how much the North Korean government did intervene when it came to where and what they should shoot. Many of these images, while stunning, seem like they were still quite a bit staged, or at least meant to evoke a particular vibe about efficiency and cleanliness — it almost could be a propaganda video for the government. You wonder what the video would look like if the filmmakers had truly gotten unfettered access to the DPRK, and some of the places that Pyongyang didn’t want them to see. [Enter Pyongyang]