Inside North Korea - Vice Travel - Part 2 of 3

Uploaded by vice on Dec 19, 2011


SHANE SMITH: Where are going now?
MR. KIM: We are going to military demarcation line.

SHANE SMITH: Your political indoctrination continues when
the North Koreans take you to their side of the DMZ.
And going to the DMZ from the north is a completely
different animal than going to the DMZ from the south.
From the south, you have to go through checkpoint,
checkpoint, checkpoint, checkpoint.
On the North Korean side, you go from Pyongyang.
It's about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive.
But when you go there, actually, it's a
lot more laid back.
Although you do notice, on the drive in, there's a hell of a
lot more troops on the North Korean side.
And everywhere there's these massive monuments.
And you're like, what are those monuments?
And they say, oh, they're filled with dynamite.
And if there's ever an invasion, they blow up, and
they fall down.
And they are tank barriers.

And unlike the South Korean side, you can
shoot what you want.
You can point at people.
you can give them the finger.
You can do whatever you want.
You can drink beer.
SHANE SMITH: So basically, it's a big
"fuck you" to the South.
It's a big "fuck you" to the Americans.

We're in Panmunjeom, in the demilitarized zone, where the
armistice was signed between the DPRK and the UN.

SHANE SMITH: All they want to do is tell you about how bad
the Americans are, this is where we defeated the American
imperialist aggressors, this is where North Korea shut down
the biggest military power in the world.
And that's what everything is designed to do.

We're on night vision because there's no electricity in

We got in trouble for shooting.
They said we might get charged for a criminal offense.
So I'm trying to do this as quietly as possible.

All you hear at the DMZ is talk of reunification.

SHANE SMITH: Is this is a political thing?
Like are you trying to reunify?
They won't mention--
just reunify, reunify.
You think one day they will be unified?

SHANE SMITH: At that point you go--
these guys are serious, serious dudes.

And then, on the way back, you stop off and you have a meal.
And they're like, oh, you're hungry?
Hey, let's just stop at this-- any old restaurant.
And they're pretending, like, this is like any restaurant.
We just showed up.
Hey, McDonald's on the side of the road.
But let's say there's seven of you.
You get to the restaurant.
There's seven places laid out, and the whole of the
restaurant is empty.
It's been choreographed.
They've been waiting for you for two days, all set up-- the
whole restaurant waiting to go.
We're in Kaesong, in a nice restaurant.
We just had a lovely meal.
You have lunch, which is like 50 plates of little shit.
Again, you can't eat any of it.
But it's like-- just look how much food we have.
We're so great.
Kinda quiet.
Kinda quiet.
So your first two days there you're
like, crazy food, politics.
Crazy food, politics.
So you start to get a bit freaked out at this point.
Thank you.
And then on the way back, you know, thinking, this is the
fourth largest army in the world, all along this border.
And they've threatened America with nukes--
and Japan with nukes.
I'm like, how can they have nukes?
They don't have electricity.
It's like turn-of-the-century industrial Britain.
How do they have nukes?

SHANE SMITH: So, after driving back from the DMZ and our
choreographed lunch, you realize that everything is
going to be choreographed.
Like, hey, what do you want to do tonight?
Want to go for a few beers?
And you're like, hey, this isn't so bad.
Sure, let's go out for a few beers.
And you go out to the sort of state-sanctioned karaoke
place, which is only, really, for foreigners and really
high-ranking party officials.
SHANE SMITH: Now the guards have been waiting.
They've studied their whole life, you know, English, and
they've studied political dialectics.
So that they're the best and the brightest.
And this is like the top position.
But they have to wait all year for about 10 days for any
tourists to come.
So there's kind of this weird-- like they're holding
back their excitement because they get to eat, and they get
to drink, and smoke cigarettes, and all these
great things.
And you can see them vibrating--
they're so excited.
You know, yeah, have some cigarettes.
And they're like, "oh god," and drinking, but they are
trying not to show it.
Check one, two.
Check two, one two, one two.
SHANE SMITH: This is for you.
She doesn't like my song.
SHANE SMITH: To the museum?
SHANE SMITH: Museum, yeah.

SHANE SMITH: The International Friendship Exhibition Hall.
And we're going to buy some ties.

SHANE SMITH: Bad for you?
It's bad for everybody.

What does it mean?
FEMALE SPEAKER 1: I'm glad to meet you.
SHANE SMITH: I'm glad to meet you.
That's why you shake hands.

SHANE SMITH: But that's why, when you sing it, you always
shake hands.
MR LEE: Yeah.
Tomorrow we have a big day.
SHANE SMITH: Goodnight.

MR LEE: This morning.
FEMALE SPEAKER 1: This morning.
SHANE SMITH: I see you this morning.
So we went out on a night on the town in Pyongyang with our
guards, which is good, because the guards weren't enjoying us
as human beings.
Today they threatened Jamie, who's filming this, with--
what was it?
Gross, insensitive crimes to the republic, or something?
JAMIE: Criminal offenses.
SHANE SMITH: Criminal offenses.
JAMIE: --which would have severe repercussions.
SHANE SMITH: All we had to do was buy like six bottles of
blueberry wine, and everybody was fine, except for Mr. Lee.
He wanted to fight with us after we disrespected
[KOREAN], the song that says, "pleased to meet you."
So we're drinking soju.
And we're going to bed now.
He got mad at me.
Mr. Lee got mad at me.
He goes, it was the first song I taught you!
I don't remember the first song you taught me, Mr. Lee.
OK, honeybun.

SHANE SMITH: So once they get through with the
like, the Pueblo and DMZ-- of how bad the Americans are,
then begins--
how great we are.
And that starts with Kim
Il-Sung, the Eternal President.
And everybody has to go and pay their respects to the
great statue of Kim Il-Sung, who, although he's been dead
since 1994, is still the president of North Korea.

I'm going to lay a wreath at the the
statute of Kim Il-Sung.
We have to do this as a token of respect.

And then they took us two hours south of Pyongyang to
the International Friendship Exhibition, which is this
2000-room sort of fortress cut into a mountain--
deep into a mountain, like 20 stories down.
And what it is, is it's all these presents that were given
or sent to Kim Il-Sung by heads of state or foreign
dignitaries or notaries.
They are so paranoid about anyone finding out about these
treasures that they won't let you know where this is.
They won't tell you anything.
And of course, you can't shoot there.
And in fact, they got really mad even when we
were shooting outside.
He took my camera, and he said, how much memory does
your camera have?
And I'm like, oh, I don't know, 48 megs or something.
And he opened it up.
And he took it out.
And I had a 5 gig card because I was shooting actual movies
with it on the sly.
And he goes, you're a liar.
You lied to me.
You know very well that's not true.
This is five gigs.
And even if I had taken pictures down there, which I
didn't, they just take out your memory card and say,
thank you very much.
So we're hiding from our guards right now, who don't
want us to film anything.
We have to keep quiet.
We're allowed to be quiet up here.
They're relaxing and having tea right now, so we've got a
few seconds.
We're at the International Friendship Museum, or
otherwise known as the international insanity museum,
where all the presents from all around the world came.
And it's like alligators holding trays and all kinds of
dead animals.
And ivory, like huge ivory, and all this gold stuff.
They have all this crazy business.
And there's so many attractions there, so many
treasures, that, if you were to stop and look at each one,
it would take a year and a half to get through.
Everybody goes on this pilgrimage at one time in
their lives.
And they wear their best clothes.
The women get dressed up in native costume.
The men wear their uniforms.
And what a benevolent god because he's sharing all these
amazing treasures, like he would share
them with his children.
So they think that every leader in the world thinks
that Kim Il-Sung is the best.
Not that we're mad at them, or North Korea's on it's own.
They think Kim Il-Sung is the best.
They don't understand that the world is mad at North Korea.

SHANE SMITH: Going to the subway, for us, was a really
big deal because we never got to
interact with North Koreans.
And we were like, wow, we get to see
real, live North Koreans.
We're going down into the metro.
We're going down deep.
This is amazing because it's a working subway, bomb shelter,
and beautiful thing.
They either try to ignore you, or they're incredibly
fascinated by you.
And a lot of them look at you, and they do not like you
because they've been told you're the devil since they
were two years old.

Subways are a big thing in communist countries.
I mean, Moscow is famous for its lavish stops on its public
transportation system, as is Pyongyang--
you know, look at how great our public
transport system is.

So you get to go from one stop to another stop, both of which
are incredibly lavish and over the top.
SHANE SMITH: Fireworks, fireworks.
The rest aren't as lavish.
And apparently, the rest are just tiny little, five feet
tall things that you come out of that are really functional.
But they have two, sort of, monumental ones that you're
allowed to see.
You're not allowed to see the other ones.

And as you come out, you realize this is 1950s Russia.
This is Soviet Russia.
This is Maoist China.
I've come back in a time warp.