May 08, 2010, 2:30 PM
Crossing the Line
Directed by Daniel Gordon
An "unforgettable documentary" (New York Daily News), Crossing the Line is the "absolutely fascinating" (Hollywood Reporter) story of James Joseph Dresnok, a US Army private who in 1962 stunned the world by walking across the violently contested DMZ that cuts Korea in two and defecting to the communist North.
Taking full advantage of access granted by the government of North Korea, the "axis of evil's" mysterious and feared rogue state, director Daniel Gordon (The Game of Their Lives, A State of Mind) combines historical footage with contemporary interviews to both uncover the Kim Jong-il regime and end 44 years of secrecy and rumor by allowing Dresnok to tell his own story.
Despite spending more than half his life living, working, and raising a family in North Korea, "Comrade Joe," as Western media dubbed Dresnok when he walked into infamy at the height of the Cold War, remains a man of eternally divided loyalties. From his appalling childhood in a rural 1950s Virginia foster home, to interviews with his fellow GI's, to "amazing footage" (New York Post) of Dresnok playing the villain in Kim Jong-il's personally produced propaganda films, Crossing the Line "makes an already compelling story even more so" (Hollywood Reporter) by intimately revealing a character "worthy of Werner Herzog's delusional hero-victims" (New York Sun).
"RIVETING." -Matt Zoller Seitz, The New York Times
"ASTONISHING... The sheer strangeness of (Comrade Joe) Dresnok's experience makes this film absorbing; the glimpses of the North Korean way of life make it essential." -Richard Brody, The New Yorker
This screening is made possible by permission from Kino International and Richard Lorber.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
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