Camp 14: Total Control Zone (2012)
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Critic Reviews for Camp 14: Total Control Zone
The only person known to have escaped from a North Korean re-education camp reveals some 1984-level [stuff], except it's worse, because it's not fiction...
Those who've read Escape from Camp 14 will know all about Shin Dong-huyk. Everyone else will be left slack-jawed by his account of prison-camp life in North Korea.
It is this very understatement, and the weight given to Shin's words over any accompanying sound or image, that prevent Wiese's film ever seeming exploitative, even though it is addressing unimaginable human depravity and degradation.
Using interviews and atmospheric animated sequences, Weise uncovers a world where brutality is the norm and conditioning blurs the line between victim and perpetrator.
This harrowing and vital documentary examines life in a North Korean death camp.
Audience Reviews for Camp 14: Total Control Zone
The combination of the intense subject matter and excellent film style makes for something truly great, sad, and inspirational all at once. It's really more like a character study within the base concept of the documentary itself, and the way it was edited with pauses really helps to illustrate the frustration of the victim as well as the two former guards for their acts. Also with no narration and only rare moments of brief prompting from the interviewer, this really helped to keep the focus where it needs to be: on the subject matter and off the creator or interviewer of the film. Serious kudos to them for keeping themselves out of it and letting the people talk at their own pace about things that must be more painful to discuss then I could possibly imagine. The artwork/animations lent themselves quite well, and I usually hate any kind of animation in serious docs. Also I think Shin left one kind of slavery to enter another in his view. Of course the former was far worse but the things he says about life in South Korea really makes me wonder if he could ever learn to live a normal life. A normal healthy childhood is crucial for everyone to have the best chance for this and it's too disturbing to even think that so many in this world never experience that.
Powerful and well told account of one man's life in and escape from a labour camp in North Korea.
North Korea is infamous for numerous reasons. One of those reasons is severe human rights violations. This is the astounding story of Shin Dong -hyuk, a prisoner in Camp 14 who successfully escaped. Throughout his ordeal, he has witnessed executions, been beaten, tortured, maimed, snitched and betrayed his friends and mother and brother. Those were the rules. The inmates were forced to do this in order to survive. This is an astounding film that has the power to make you think and it is an eye opening affair that should not be missed. Some people have criticized the editing and pacing, but this isn't a documentary like any other. When you hear Hyuk's story, you're captivated and in awe and how he could survive such brutality. The book Escape from Camp 14 is also wonderful and is a true testament to the survival of the human spirit. Although hard to watch, it is a necessary viewing in order to raise awareness to this important issue. I believe that this is one of the most important documents that have ever been made. This is a well thought out film and also you definitely shouldn't miss out on this one. Like I said, this is a standout film that is worth seeing.
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