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The Ministry of Truth: Kim Jong-Il's North Korea [Paperback]

By Eva Munz, Lukas Nikol & Christian Kracht (Introduction by)
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Item description for The Ministry of Truth: Kim Jong-Il's North Korea by Eva Munz, Lukas Nikol & Christian Kracht...

The few dozen tourists—and a few journalists—who come annually to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang are accompanied by guides and are only allowed to see what the regime blinders for their viewing. For the visitors, actors often represent pedestrians, and the consumer goods seen in stores are unavailable to the public at large. The statistics heaped upon the visitors are dubious at best.

Kim Jong Il's People's Republic of North Korea is a gigantic installation, a simulation, a play. Eva Munz, Christian Kracht, and Lukas Nikol traveled to this land to take pictures of a country from which there are no pictures. What they show in The Ministry of Truth is a window view of the gigantic 3-D production of Kim Jong Il, who writes the nation's statistics and authors its film script. Because no accurate view is available of this total installation, the authors make the only one possible: They comment on their photos with quotations from a didactic book on the art of film written by the dictator—who not only collects wine and Mazda RX-7 sports cars, but also has an enormous film library.

Christian Kracht is a celebrated journalist and author and the editor of the German cultural magazine Der Freund. The photographs of Eva Munz and Lukas Nikol have had numerous international exhibitions.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   133
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 7.5" Height: 11"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2007
Publisher   Feral House
ISBN  1932595279  
ISBN13  9781932595277  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
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5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Travel > Asia
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8Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
9Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Korea, North > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Ministry of Truth: Kim Jong-Il's North Korea?

Not nearly enough truth  Jan 20, 2008
The cult-of-personality-land seems to be getting an invigorating showing these days. This is the fourth book of photos to be released in the last two years and though they might have North Korea in the title it is mostly photos of Pyongyang that always predominate. The Ministry of Truth follows this pattern with just under a hundred photos and some posters.

It is unfortunate that what is on show is of such poor quality. So many are soft focus, grey, badly composed and lacking in any creativity to really show anything of this odd country. I wonder if many of the shots were snapped while the minders were looking elsewhere? The authors also, annoyingly, take an easy out by not writing any captions but supply the dotty thoughts of the Dear Leader to go with some photos on many spreads. The uninspiring layout doesn't help either.

Far better I think to go for Philippe Chancel's excellent North Korea with 129 photos that show the extent of the totalitarian regime in dazzling color

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.

The Things Unseen  Dec 13, 2007
The photographs in "The Ministry of Truth" came back to haunt me long after I put the book down. Humans appear in the photographs, but we never connect. The public places seem empty of people and activity, but filled with the ghosts of...what, I just don't know. There is a quiet elegance to this collection of photographs, we are seeing things we don't really feel we have the permission to see, and then it's puncuated by a jolt of humanity, a smile, a human face caught off guard. We are looking at propaganda...its grand and its humble all at the same time.

The cool distance of the photographs gives us a feeling of and anthropological study: here are the places, here are the things, here is what it looks like in this mysterious land. This distance allows us to decide for ourselves, look at things objectively, and come to peace with it all.

After all that, this is a great book. Accessible to everyone interested in history, photography, and the things unseen.
A Mind-opening Glimpse into North Korea... and Ourselves  Nov 7, 2007
While attending the 9th International Pyongyang Film Festival in 2004, writer Christian Kracht and photographers Eva Munz and Lukas Nikol were granted extraordinary leeway to see a different side of North Korea. The Ministry of Truth reproduces their journey to an unseen side of the North Korean peninsula, something beyond the standard CNN-issued footage of military parades and nuclear facilities. Kracht's preface wrily points out the paranoia and anxiety that forms the basis of the Western media's impressions of the country as he elegantly weaves together an essay on the seemingly disparate absurdism of Neo-con thought and Kimgjongilism. If you are looking for an "out-of-the-box" postmodernist take on the 21st century Hermit Kingdom, then buy this book!

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