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Shin Sang-ok
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Filmmaker
    (October 18, 1926-April 11, 2006)
    Born in Chongjin, Korea (North)
    South Korean film producer and director
    Founded Shin Films
    Directed 'A Flower in Hell' (1958), 'My Mother and Her Guest' (1961), 'The Memorial Gate for Virtuous Women' (1962), 'Torchlight' (1963), 'The Eunuch' (1968), 'Ghosts of Chosun' (1970) and 'The Three-Day Reign' (1973)
    Kidnapped by agents of Kim Jong-Il to make films in North Korea (1978)
    Directed 'Runaway' (1984) and 'Pulgasari' (1985)
    Escaped to the US Embassy during a trip to Vienna (1986)
    In Hollywood, produced the 'Three Ninjas' film series and directed 'Three Ninjas Knuckle Up' (1995)
    When he was kidnapped, he was initially relieved to learn his abductors were from North Korea and not the South Korean CIA.
    He divorced actress Choi Eun-hee.
    When they remarried, it was at the instigation of Kim Jong-Il.
    He and Choi appeared at a press conference where they declared that they had come to North Korea of their own free will.
    After they agreed to work for North Korea, he and Choi were given a mansion with servants and matching Mercedes-Benzes.
    His film 'Pulgasari' -- a sort of Communist-themed 'Godzilla' -- was described by 'The Guardian' as 'a terrifically bad movie.'
    In Hollywood, he worked under the pseudonym Simon Sheen.
    He was nicknamed 'the Prince of Korean Cinema' and 'the Orson Welles of South Korea.'
    He directed the first films to feature kissing in both South and North Korean cinema.
    When the regime of Park Chung-Hee censored his films, he replaced the deleted scenes with black frames so audiences would know something was missing.
    In response, the government shut down his studio and revoked his license to make films (1978).
    After his ex-wife disappeared in Hong Kong (she had been kidnapped by North Korea, possibly as bait for Shin), he went there to search for her and was abducted as well.
    He tried to escape from North Korea, and was imprisoned for four years in a re-education camp, where he was fed a diet of 'grass, rice, salt and party indoctrination.'
    He tried to starve himself to death in prison, but was force fed; later, a guard told him he was the first attempted suicide they had saved, so he must be important.
    He wrote, 'To be in [North] Korea living a good life ourselves and enjoying movies while everyone else was not free was not happiness, but agony.'
    When he and Choi escaped, they brought along tapes they had secretly recorded of Kim discussing their kidnapping, since they suspected no one would otherwise believe their story.
    His remarriage to Choi lasted until his death, so Kim may have had untapped potential as a matchmaker.

Credit: C. Fishel


    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 1 Votes: 100% Annoying
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