SynopsisShin Dong-Hyuk was born in one of the toughest prison camps of North Korea in 1983 and grew up there. All he knew was the hell of the camp. He only learned of the world on the other side of the barbed wire when a fellow prisoner told him about his life before detention. Shin decided to escape - but it wasn’t freedom he wanted, because he didn’t even know what that was. He wanted to eat his fill just once, even at the risk of being shot afterwards. At the age of 22, Shin successfully escaped.
Today he lives alone in a small flat in South Korea, where Shin recounts his life in the penal colony in very intense interviews, his traumatisation obvious. But the director goes one step further by not limiting himself to the victim’s point of view. He also brings two perpetrators in front of his camera, people who tormented, tortured and killed. To illustrate life in the camp, he uses delicately drawn, restrained animations and original material. The quiet flow of the narrative and the unobtrusive but atmospheric soundtrack allow the protagonists and their stories the space they need. Gradually the inconceivable is taking shape, for even today 200,000 people in North Korea are living in internment
camps. (Antje Stamer / DOKLeipzig)