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Since the events in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, “regime change” has become a more palatable phrase in foreign policy circles beyond the Bush White House and American Enterprise Institute. For the hardline North Korea Freedom Coalition, it was never out of fashion to begin with. For the past eight years, the group has organized its annual North Korea Freedom Week jointly in Seoul and Washington, with lectures and film screenings highlighting human rights abuses by the Kim dynasty’s totalitarian regime.
This year’s films, showing today and tomorrow at West End Cinema, will offer a rare glimpse inside the hermetically sealed hermit kingdom and its vast security apparatus. Today’s screenings are Seoul Train, about the underground railroad that ferrets defectors from the North to the South by way of China, Mongolia and Vietnam; and Kimjongilia, a day-in-the-life documentary featuring testimony by North Korean prison camp survivors. The film fest concludes Tuesday with Abduction, the story of a 13-year-old Japanese girl kidnapped by DPRK agents and taken to the North, a longtime practice by the regime to facilitate Japanese language training for its spies.
The films’ directors will be present at all screenings; Seoul Train and Kimjongilia will also feature a Q&A with North Korean defectors afterward.
Seoul Train (54 min., NR) is showing at 6:00 pm and Kimjongilia (74 min., NR) is showing at 8:00 pm on Monday, April 25; Abduction (85 min., NR) is showing at 7:00 on Tuesday, April 26. All screenings at West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW and are $10. 202-234-5547.