You have to wonder… In a country like North Korea where the nation is stuck 1950s time warp and Western influences have officially not been allowed in… Why the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham? Why now?
The 2002 film starring Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Myers and Parminder Nagra aired Dec. 26 — a break from the regular programming of news, documentaries and soap operas in North Korea, where Western films are largely off limits.
“This was the first Western film to be broadcast on North Korean TV, and as well as football covered issues such as multiculturalism, equality and tolerance,” British Ambassador Peter Hughes told The Associated Press from Pyongyang, where his embassy helped arranged the Boxing Day broadcast.
Britain has been seeking to reach out to North Koreans through football, a sport that has connected the two nations since North Korea first sent a team to the World Cup in England in 1966. [yahoo]
I get it. Soccer can unite the world, teaches sportsmanship, crosses boundaries of nation states, blah, blah, blah. I can understand why the British government would choose this movie to develop ties with North Koreans. What I’m curious about is the South Asian hyphenated identity and pop cultural references. I would think that in a nation sheltered the way North Korea is, that a lot of these subtle nuances would be totally missed. In a nation where immigration simply doesn’t exist, how much of the immigrant experience story line did the North Koreans actually understand?
But typically of the censoring Communist state, eight minutes were cut from the 112-minute show….The Boxing Day screening was a rare treat in a country whose TV normally focuses on documÂentaries about farms and others glorifying its leaders and Army. [mirror]
Of course, they had to censor something. But I wonder what exactly those eight minutes of censored scenes were in this fairly PG rated movie. Was it when the girls were at the club? Religious references? Who knows. All I can say is thank goodness they chose this movie instead of Bride and Prejudice.