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Lights, camera, action: Kim Jong-un gets a Hollywood makeover

World

Lights, camera, action: Kim Jong-un gets a Hollywood makeover

From drones to cameras rigged on rockets, North Korea is upgrading TV techniques to boost its image

Jon Herskovitz, Stella Ko and Jeong-Ho Lee

When the going gets tough for Kim Jong-un, his regime likes to turn its TV cameras on the military, with glossy productions showcasing the missiles and manpower that North Korea tells the masses are protecting the nation.

Since taking power a decade ago, Kim has introduced new looks to state television, including drone footage, computer graphics, music video-style cuts and made-for-TV moments. This has helped him rally support for the state as it battles chronic food shortages and an anaemic economy made even weaker by international sanctions imposed as punishment for testing nuclear bombs and missiles, some potentially capable of striking the US and its allies. 

In his most recent state TV spectacle, for a weapons test on March 24, Kim is seen in dark sunglasses and a black leather jacket apparently ordering his army — in slow motion — to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile. This was released eight days after a failed ballistic missile launch near Pyongyang’s international airport. South Korea said the North doctored the video to blend these two launches into one seemingly successful test for propaganda purposes...

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