Under the Sun

Directed by Vitaly Mansky

110 minutes / Color
English; Korean / English subtitles
Release: 2016
Copyright: 2015

 After years of negotiation the Russian director Vitaly Mansky was invited by the North Korean government to make a film about one girl and her family in the year she prepares to join the Children's Union, on the 'Day of the Shining Star' (Kim Jong-Il's birthday).

"My father says that Korea is the most beautiful country..." says eight-year-old Zin-mi. And so it might seem as Mansky films her in joyous, patriotic school pageants and in dance class, or with her parents, eating delicious food in their picturesque apartment. But the government handlers supervising the production did not realize that Mansky kept filming even after they had shouted "Cut."

UNDER THE SUN is the jaw-dropping result, a "surreal and sinister… real-life version of THE TRUMAN SHOW."—The Hollywood Reporter

film still"Critics' Pick! Startling and chilling."The New York Times

"Fascinating; a revealing act of subversion."Variety

"Captures revealing details about everyday life in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital."WNYC, The Leopard Lopate Show

"A filmmaking coup."The Los Angeles Times


"Reveals the facades of North Korea—and what's behind them."The A.V. Club

"What's more unexpected is just how much Russian documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky is able to reveal despite, and often because of, the stringent restrictions imposed upon him."Screen Daily

"Authorities are said to have tried to prevent screenings of UNDER THE SUN...Directed by veteran filmmaker Vitaly Mansky, the documentary crew gained unprecedented access to the country by making the North Korean regime an official production partner and allowing officials complete control over the script."The Guardian

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A film by Vitaly Mansky

Select Accolades

  • DOXA Documentary Film Festival 2016
  • Hot Docs Film Festival 2016
  • Jury Bravery Award, Mammoth Lakes Film Festival 2016
  • Best Director, Black Nights International Film Festival 2015
  • Best Documentary, Jihlava Documentary Film Festival 2015 
  • DOKLeipzig Documentary Film Festival 2015
  • International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2015 


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