VIDEO: Perusing Pyongyang, North Korea's Model City

VIDEO: Perusing Pyongyang, North Korea's Model City
Credit: via Saigoneer

What you need to know

The music does the trick.

Isolated from the rest of the world since 1953, North Korea has since been the center of much curiosity, myths and sensationalist headlines that leave more space for reductionism rather than nuance.

North Korea's de facto capital Pyongyang, located in the west-central part of the country, is a fascinating place. For much of its modern history, the city has been subjected to war and depopulation, with two most notable events including the First Sino-Japanese war and the Korean War bombings conducted by U.S. Air Force, which destroyed most of Pyongyang's landscape.

In 1953, the country rebuilt itself from scratch with the help of the Soviet Union. Because of this involvement, many of the buildings in Pyongyang today carry the influence of Stalinist architecture, often laden with Korean symbolism.

In this time-lapse video titled "Peculiar Pyongyang," filmmaker Joerg Daiber captures the mundane peculiarity of the city. The video is a visual journey, from Soviet-influenced high-rises to the city's public spaces and the people moving within them. Viewers can also catch glimpses of the banal expressions of everyday's nationalism such as the Workers' Party Monument, the Juche Tower, or the astounding spectacle of the Mass Game.

The manipulation of pace and speed in the video evoke a sense of fantasy at times as the citizens sometimes resemble clay figures navigating an artificial landscape. Moreover, the extensive use of tilt-shift effects gives off the impression that viewers are watching reels from a SimCity game instead of real life.

Watch the video below:

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The News Lens has been authorized to republish this article from Saigoneer, an English-language digital platform covering urban development, history, food, culture and the arts in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and throughout Vietnam. The original can be found here.

TNL Editor: David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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