The Juche Idea, 2008

The Juche Idea + Selected Shorts

with filmmaker Jim Finn
Friday, May 15, 2009 - 7:00pm

Jim Finn uses humor and historical fiction to examine ideology, capitalism and revolutionary art practices. His work has screened at international festivals like Rotterdam, Sundance and Edinburgh as well as museums and cinematheques such as the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Danish Film Institute and the Harvard Film Archive. His latest work is a trilogy of feature-length films looking at Marxist ideology and radical art practices. The first of these, Interkosmos, was called “a retro gust of communist utopianism” by the Village Voice and “charming and fantastic, so full of rare atmospheres” by Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin. His second feature La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo was put on the Village Voice’s Top 10 Year in Experimental Film. And Variety called The Juche Idea “brilliant” and said all three films “upturn notions of documentary and fiction, propaganda thought, reality and restaging, and even what an ‘experimental film’ actually is.”

Introduction by Asst Professor Jennifer Wild, Dept of Cinema and Media Studies. The screening will be followed by a reception.

The Juche Idea
2008, mini-DV, 62 min
Translated as self-reliance, Juche (pronounced choo-CHAY) is a hybrid of Confucian and authoritarian Stalinist pseudosocialism, and a philosophy which Kim Jong Il adapted from his father to apply to propaganda, film, and art. Inspired by the real-life story of the South Korean director kidnapped in the 70s to invigorate the North Korean film industry, the film follows Yoon Jung Lee, a young video artist invited to work at a Juche art residency on a North Korean collective farm.

Great Man and Cinema
2009, 3:45 min
An updated propaganda film made in the style of North Korean social-realist juche cinema. Kim Jong Il, the Stalinist David O. Selznick, runs the state film studio as a way of promoting his own and his father's cult of personality. The film's title comes from a propaganda booklet filled with stories of how the Dear Leader has written, edited, produced and given acting advice in films for the last 40 years. This film succinctly synthesizes the Dear Leader's feeling toward the USA.

Decision 80
2003, 10 min“
’Beam me up, Scottie, I think we really blew it.’ A timely look back at the mechanics of a painful historic moment.”
—Cinematexas Festival

2002, 2:35 min
’The gerbil has long been associated with New World capitalism because of its incessant energy.’ The Golden Age of Hollywood takes on the history and evolution of this delightful household pet.” —International Film Festival Rotterdam

El Guero
2001, 3:30 min
“A refreshing look at karaoke, psychedelic dance moves, and donuts all mashed together into a small and swinging film about a man who considers his private thoughts and private jokes worth sharing with a large audience. And it’s unlikely that many would disagree.” —Impakt Festival

Co-sponsored by Committee on Cinema & Media Studies