In North Korea, an International Film Festival Where ‘Self-Reliance’ Is the Star
PYONGYANG, North Korea — Sprawling 10 million square feet across a hilly expanse on the outskirts of this capital city, the Pyongyang Film Studio, said to be the world’s largest, features a variety of representations of foreign locales reflecting North Korea’s propagandized vision of the outside world.
朝鲜平壤――平壤影视城(Pyongyang Film Studio)占地1000万平方英尺（约合93万平方米），横贯朝鲜首都平壤郊外的一处山地，据说是世界上最大的影视城，里面有各种外国地点的展示，反映了朝鲜政治宣传中外部世界的样子。
There are sets meant to depict Japan, a generic European streetscape and South Korea circa 1950. The street standing in for South Korea, the North’s longtime rival and more prosperous neighbor, includes a seedy brothel, a tawdry bar and a shady blood bank, all seemingly designed to cast it as a paradigm of decrepitude and sin.
On a recent sunny afternoon, however, the studio was eerily empty. The postproduction facilities appeared unstaffed, and the interior sets, veiled in cobwebs and dust, looked in disrepair.
Asked about the evident decay, a guide insisted that the sets were constantly in use.
“There was a crew shooting here yesterday, and they will be shooting again tomorrow,” he said. “They are just taking a break today.”
The guide’s charges were in town for one of the few chances that outsiders have to go behind the baffling facade of North Korea — the biennial Pyongyang International Film Festival. And like the studio tour, this year’s festival, the 15th, offered a vivid disconnect from the underlying poverty of a nation unable to feed its citizens and reeling from tough United Nations sanctions prompted by its nuclear weapons program.
这个导游带领的参观者正在造访平壤，他们获得了一个为数不多的机会，可以走入朝鲜那令人困惑的表面文章的背后。他们正在参与两年一度的平壤国际电影节(Pyongyang International Film Festival)。这是一个无法喂饱自己人民，并因为发展核武器项目而遭受联合国严厉制裁的国家，和影城之旅一样，电影节明显和这个国家深入肌理的贫困状况脱钩。
The opening ceremony did not lack grandiosity. Staged in mid-September at the capital’s Central Youth Hall, glimmering for the occasion, it was attended by government functionaries, festival delegates and representatives from various embassies. Cars belonging to officials and buses carrying performing arts groups clogged the expansive parking lot as smartly dressed women filed into the packed theater, the clicking of their heels reverberating off the walls of the high-ceilinged lobby. There was no mention of the U.N. sanctions or recent devastating floods.
The evening also introduced the five-member jury, all male, headed by Yuri Mityushin, a Russian citizen, formerly employed by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, who currently runs a “law enforcement” film festival in Moscow. In previous years the festival has had jurors from Iran, Syria and China.
当晚还介绍了由五位成员组成的评审团，他们都是男性，由俄罗斯公民尤里·米秋申(Yuri Mityushin)领衔，他曾在俄罗斯内务部(Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs)任职，目前在莫斯科主办一个有关“执法”的电影节。前几年电影节曾经请过来自伊朗、叙利亚与中国的评委。
The opening ceremony concluded with the hosts, standing beneath a sculpted dove, announcing that the festival would showcase films from countries opposed to war and “aspiring to a beautiful and peaceful life.”
The festival rarely features Oscar hopefuls or Hollywood stars; if a film is screening, it is probably promoting socialist values or patriotic sentiment. Guests then sat for the opening film, “A Quiet Outpost,” a jingoistic Russian war drama that was a paean to the military and ended with a gory 30-minute battle sequence.
这个电影节很少播放有望获得奥斯卡奖的影片或由好莱坞影星主演的影片；能上映的电影很可能是宣传社会主义价值观或爱国精神的。之后，宾客们观看了开幕电影《安静的前哨》(A Quiet Outpost)，这是一部反映俄罗斯战争的情节剧，带有沙文色彩，赞美军队，以30分钟血腥的战争镜头告终。
During the eight-day program, 11 feature films vied for the Best Torch Award, and the jury was instructed to judge the films based on how well they symbolized the festival’s official theme — “Independence, Peace and Friendship” — and whether they articulated the ideology of juche, or self-reliance, developed by the country’s founding father, Kim Il Sung.
在为期八天的电影节里，将有11部长片角逐最高奖“火炬奖”(Best Torch Award)。评审团被告知，评审标准是影片是否很好地体现了电影节的官方主题“自主、和平，友谊”，以及它们是否强调了主体思想(juche)，也就是其国父金日成(Kim Il Sung)提出的自主原则。
The complete lineup was noticeably slimmer than in years past, with 60 films from 21 countries compared with more than 100 films at previous festivals. Germany, France and India were represented, but as in the past, films from the United States and South Korea were conspicuously absent.
The sole North Korean title in the feature competition, “The Story of Our Home,” was a drama apparently based on true events about a young college graduate who selflessly devotes herself to raising orphans and who wins accolades from the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Other entries from the North included an animated short and a slice-of-life documentary, “Prosperous Pyongyang.”
入围长片竞赛单元的唯一一部朝鲜影片名为《我们家的故事》(The Story of Our Home)，据说是一部根据真实事件改编的故事片，讲述一个年轻的大学毕业生无私奉献，养育孤儿，最终赢得了朝鲜领导人金正恩的嘉奖。其他来自朝鲜的影片包括一部动画短片，以及一部反映生活侧面的纪录片《繁荣的平壤》(Prosperous Pyongyang)。
For many international delegates, the primary attraction of the festival is the experience of watching films alongside North Koreans, despite an awareness that they are interacting with only a privileged section of Pyongyang society. Sitting in an auditorium with 2,000 people also often leads to more casual encounters than is otherwise possible in North Korea, where itineraries are tightly controlled and conversations with ordinary people are rare. The potential of initiating such dialogue in a society reeling from isolationism is also reason enough for many artists to want their work screened in the country.
“A crowd’s high level of engagement is extremely heartwarming for a filmmaker,” said Nicholas Bonner, a British filmmaker whose “Comrade Kim Goes Flying” screened at the festival in 2012. “They respond very viscerally to what’s happening on the screen.”
“一群人极为专注地观看影片，这对于电影工作者来说是非常温暖的，”英国电影人尼古拉斯·伯纳(Nicholas Bonner)说，他的《飞吧，金同志！》(Comrade Kim Goes Flying)曾在2012年的电影节上映。“他们对银幕上发生的一切都有发自内心的反应。”
This year, after a full evening showing of “Baahubali: The Beginning,” an Indian fantasy epic in the vein of “The Lord of the Rings,” concluded with a cliffhanger, many North Koreans in the audience gasped and then lingered before leaving the auditorium.
今年的一个晚上，电影节放映了有着《指环王》(The Lord of the Rings)风格的印度奇幻史诗片《巴霍巴利王：开篇》(Baahubali: The Beginning)，影片以一个悬念结束，放映结束后，观众席中的很多朝鲜人都目瞪口呆，流连不去。
“Is this a true story?” one incredulous North Korean asked me.
“Please ask the filmmakers to submit the second part for the next festival,” said another, after learning that I was an Indian citizen. (The next festival is scheduled for 2018.)
The crowd at the conclusion of the festival expressed little surprise, by contrast, when the Best Torch Award went to the national entry, “The Story of Our Home,” and its star, Paek Sol Mi, was named best actress for what was her screen debut.
与之形成鲜明对照的是，对于电影节的最后结果，人们没有表示出任何惊讶之情——最后“火炬奖”由国产片《我们家的故事》获得，第一次出演电影角色的本片主演朴率美（Paek Sol Mi，音）获得最佳女主角奖。
Film has always been important to the North Korean regime. Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s father, who died in 2011, was obsessed with cinema. His personal library was said to contain more than 20,000 foreign titles. He is said to have frequently visited sets to offer on-the-spot guidance, and he wrote a lengthy treatise, “On the Art of the Cinema,” in which he claimed creative work was “an honorable revolutionary task.” All North Korean artists are expected to read this tract and internalize its lessons.
对于朝鲜政权来说，电影一直都很重要。金正恩的父亲，2011年去世的金正日(Kim Jong Il)迷恋电影。据说他的个人图书馆里收藏了两万多部外国电影。此外，据说他经常访问片场去做现场指导，他还写过一篇很长的论文《论电影艺术》(On the Art of the Cinema)，文中认为创作工作是“一项光荣的革命任务”。所有朝鲜艺术家都被要求阅读这篇文章，把文中的教诲牢记在心。
Yet like the vast film studio and the glamorous festival, even that injunction seemed to have a Potemkin village aspect.
Ri Won Bok, a 56-year-old actor who has starred in films like “Order No. 027” and been named a People’s Actor, one of the nation’s highest honors, said, “I read the book nearly every day.”
李元福(Ri Won Bok)是一位56岁的男演员，曾在《命令027》(Order No. 027)中出演角色，被授予人民演员称号，这是该国的最高荣誉之一，他说，“我几乎每天都读这本书”。
But when asked to name his favorite lesson from it, he deliberated for a moment, as if he didn’t understand the question, before smiling and saying he couldn’t remember a specific one. After all, there were so many of them.