camp 14 total control zone

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Camp 14: Total Control Zone is a documentary featuring interviews with an escapee from one of North Korea’s prison camps. 

Shin Dong-Hyuk was born inside of the Kaechon internment camp for political “crimes” committed by his parents– an example of a common practice where the North Korean government will intern three generations of a political dissident’s family. Spoiler: Shin escaped not because he wanted freedom, but because he wanted to experience a full stomach for the first time in his life.

There are also interviews with two officers who defected from their posts– they talk about how rape, torture, execution, etc were all totally normalized, expected, even encouraged activities among guards at these types of camps.

This is what Seth Rogen and James Franco are choosing to joke about in The Interview. I would say “abhorrent human rights violations,” but I don’t think those words adequately characterize the horrors that occur daily in North Korea. 

Be warned, there are graphic descriptions and depictions of public execution, torture, and rape in this film. Shin’s post-traumatic stress is also explored. 

I also recommend Adrian Hong’s article in The Atlantic on why The Interview is so fucked up and awful.