Disabled comic video-bombs North KoreaJan 10 04:20
It‘s no secret the deep-seeded prejudices North Korea holds towards the disabled. The whole world has heard the horrific reports of infanticide and sub-human gulags. To be disabled in North Korea is a nightmare and everyone knows it. The entire capitol of Pyongyang was even purged of all it’s disabled citizens in the late 1980’s.
Over time, even regimes hate bad PR, which must explain their uncanny willingness to let two Danish comedians, both originally born in South Korea and one with Cerebral Palsy, to come to their country to “perform.“ Little did they know the duo was actually part of an undercover comedy documentary, intent on revealing the controlling, disabled-hating aspects of the regime as hysterically as possible.
The documentary is called The Red Chapel and stars Jacob Nossell and Simon Jul Jorgenson, and before you read any further you’ll be happy to know it’s on Netflix Watch Now. This documentary blew my mind when I first watched it and if you’re fascinated by brainwashed societies and bizarre treatments towards the disabled caught on film, then this film is for you.
The documentary follows their 2 week excursion in North Korea, along with their Caucasian director Mads Brugger, and follows the tours they went on at schools and museums, their rehearsals with their North Korean very-censoring director and their performance for the chosen elite. The part where Jacob describes the intense weirdness of everyone being so nice to him, but feeling the contempt they have for him when he looks in their eyes, is a scene that makes the film worth watching alone.
The group is assigned a chaperone, Ms. Pak, a creepy mother-like figure who follows their every move and who after meeting Jacob after only a few hours proclaims, “I love him as much as my son.” It gets even crazier. When the comedy act finally performs, it’s heavily censored, with Jacob being asked not to talk so that his slurred speech isn’t heard by the audience. Evil exists, people. And it is alive and well in North Korea.
This documentary is amazing. The fact that the footage got out without being deleted is a miracle in itself (officials would review their footage every night and delete what they didn‘t like). Thank God North Koreans don’t get satire. A must-watch for anyone who cares about disability rights and exposing the truth.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.