From North Korea‘s perspective, this has been yet another week during which the international community is unfairly ganging up on it. In the wake of Hillary Clinton‘s announcement of strict new enforcements of UN sanctions, made after her arrival in South Korea as part of a trip to the region for the Association of Southeastern Nations (ASEAN) 2010 summit in Hanoi, North Korean delegation spokesman Ri Tong-il denounced the move as a violation of the UN‘s July 9th, 2010 Cheonan statement and warned that these actions “will not only pose a grave threat to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, but also of the region.”
However, for North Korea and their movie-loving leader, the worse may be yet to come. On Friday, July 23rd, the big new summer movie Salt arrives in theaters with an opening scene during which star Angelina Jolie, as Evelyn Salt, is tortured in a North Korean jail cell. As Salon.com reviewer Andrew O’Hehir points out, “this is the only time we see her [Jolie] undressed, as she’s getting the crap beaten out of her.” Shortly thereafter, Jolie‘s character is exchanged at the border for a North Korean spy and the movie narrative relaunches from the more conventional confines of Washington D.C.
Angelina Jolie, manhandled by North Korea? This is really taking it too far, the Hermit Kingdom might argue. I can already envision the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) weekend newswire condemnation, under a headline along the lines of “U.S. and Japan Spread Glorious New Lies” (Salt is a production of Sony Pictures arm Columbia Pictures).
But with North Korea, the bombastic PR is often accompanied by the separate contradictory behavior of the country’s elite. So while the KCNA copywriters might be preparing a Jolie good jab or two, you can bet that Kim Jong-il already has one of his minions procuring an illicit copy of Salt for palatial villa home viewing.
The Dear Leader, even in his alleged post-stroke reduced state, will no doubt get a vicarious thrill out of watching Mrs. American Movie Star receive a lesson in Pyongyang diplomacy. Meanwhile, if anyone associated with Sony is planning a trip to the movie set-like capital in August for the annual Arirang festival, they may want to consider changing those plans.