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Director Daniel Gordon Returns to Seoul With "Crossing the Line"

2007/08/08 | 164 views | Permalink | Source

British Director Daniel Gordon
By Lee Hwan-hee
Staff Reporter

British film director Daniel Gordon will visit Korea Aug. 12-14 to promote the release of his documentary "Crossing the Line" (2006), a film about James Joseph Dresnok, one of the four American soldiers who defected to North Korea during 1960s and the only one who is still living there.

The other three are Charles Robert Jenkins, who made the news in 2004 by turning himself in to the U. S. Army in Japan to face desertion charges, and Larry Allan Abshier and Jerry Wayne Parrish, both deceased.

The film is Gordon's third documentary on North Korea; the previous ones are "The Game Of Their Lives" (2002), about the North Korean national football team who defeated Italy to advance to the quarterfinals of the 1966 World Cup, and "A State Of Mind" (2004), about two North Korean child gymnasts participating in the "Pyongyang mass games".

Dresnok and the filmmaker were interviewed by the CBS News Program "60 Minutes" last January and Dresnok told the program, "I really feel at home" in North Korea, and said "I wouldn't trade it for nothing", in contrast to Jenkins who likened his stay in North Korea as an extended prison sentence. Jenkins penned a memoir "To Tell the Truth" in Japan, the home country of his wife, in 2005 (translated into Korean the following year).

Four years after his defection in 1962, Dresnok, and the other Americans, sought asylum in the Soviet embassy, unable to endure the hardships of living in North Korea, but the Soviets handed them back to the North Koreans, and Dresnok eventually adjusted, relatively speaking, to North Korean life. He found fame by starring in several North Korean propaganda films, playing villainous Americans. He also translated some of Kim Il-Sung's writings into English.

He has been married three times; twice in North Korea, to an Eastern European woman, and the daughter of a Korean woman and an African diplomat; and has three children. His eldest son, James, considers himself a Korean.

Gordon will attend a screening and have a question and answer session with audience members during his visit. The film was shown at the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival, as well as the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival.

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