Like the dizzying art of trapeze and acrobatics that is the stuff of this film’s brave young heroine’s dreams, the light-hearted comedy COMRADE KIM GOES FLYING will amaze you. Our persistently upbeat heroine Kim Yong Mi is a 28-year coal miner from Jongdang, a countryside province outside of Pyongyang, North Korea. Ever since she was a little girl, watching doves fly in wonderment, Yong Mi’s dream was to someday fly through the air, with the greatest of ease, the daring young comrade on the flying trapeze. The effervescently cheerful Yong Mi is also determined, smart and resourceful. She manages to make her way to Pyongyang to meet her heroine, trapeze artist Ri Su Hyon, perform in the circus in the big city. Her aim is to audition for the circus troupe and someday be her idol’s successor. However, after being rebuffed by Su Hyon’s trapeze partner, Pak Jang Phil, Yong Mi reports back to her worksite, a construction project in Pyongyang, determined to be the most productive construction worker AND prove that she, too, can be an amazing trapeze artist and acrobat on her own terms.
Viewers will delight in the quirky, sweet but bold personality of COMRADE KIM. The film, directed by Belgian filmmaker Anja Daelemans, British-born but Beijing-based Nicholas Bonner and North Korean director Kim Gwang Hun, COMRADE KIM GOES FLYING is the first ever Western-financed film to be made entirely in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the first North Korean film edited outside of it (China and Belgium). Real-life trapeze artists Han Jong Sim (Yong Mi) and Pak Chung Guk (Jang Phil) bring a refreshing innocence to the screen. The vibrant, saturated hues make some scenes feel like a Technicolor Instagram on the big screen. And Comrade Kim’s perky nature makes you wonder if she can ever stop smiling. Productivity of the working class and nationalistic pride are front and center themes. National costumes, and workers or school uniforms are de rigeur wardrobe pieces. Some may call the result of this collaborative effort propaganda, and in the end it is — propaganda for the film’s main message: “Wherever we are, we all have dreams.”
Synopsis written by: Vera DeVera