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July 8–14, 2016

Chicago Premiere

Under the Sun
(V paprscích slunce)

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Film still: Under the Sun Film still: Under the Sun
Critics' Pick
  —New York Times
  —New Yorker
"Both surreal and sinister, it feels like we are watching a real-life version of The Truman Show"
  —Hollywood Reporter
"Extraordinary and revealing"
  —Screen International
"The experienced filmmaker has turned the imposed limitations into a huge advantage and simply let the fourth wall fall, exposing the sheer brutality of the North Korean state machine and the misery of living in this society. Without revealing a single detail of the functioning of the state apparatus, Mansky has conveyed its very essence"
"Although unintentionally funny throughout, its evocation of life in a totalitarian society is ultimately chilling"

Shot with the permission and supervision of North Korean authorities, a collaboration they would come to regret, turns a propaganda effort into a deep-cover documentary about life inside one of the world's most repressive nations.

Russian director Vitaly Mansky was guided to preapproved locations in Pyongyang and provided with model subjects: young Lee Zin-mi, a student at the city's best school, and her parents, workers at two exemplary factories (or so officials claimed). The film follows Zin-mi as she studies the triumphs of Great Leader Kim Il-sung, joins the Children's Union and participates in the national celebration of Kim Jong-il's birthday. Each sequence is rigorously scripted for maximum ideological correctness, but Mansky shows the cracks in the façade: schoolchildren struggle to stay awake during lectures, the carefully composed expressions of the adults flicker with exhaustion and anxiety; even the resolutely compliant Zin-mi eventually succumbs under the pressure. By keeping the camera rolling while ever-present minders exhort the citizen-performers to play themselves "more joyfully," Mansky reveals the grinding gears of the totalitarian message machine. "I wanted to make a film about the real Korea," he said, but what he found instead was "the myth of a real life."

Directed by Vitaly Mansky, 2015, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Latvia, North Korea, 106 mins. In Korean with English subtitles.


  • Fri., July 8 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., July 9 at 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., July 10 at 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., July 11–14 at 7 & 9 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
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  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
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  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation