To most people not named Dennis Rodman, North Korea remains a mystery. But a new time-lapse video produced by a pair of filmmakers for a North Korean tour company gives a rare glimpse inside the enigmatic country.
“Enter Pyongyang,” by J.T. Singh and videographer Rob Whitworth for Koryo Tours, takes viewers on a three-minute journey through North Korea's capital city.
"Images of Pyongyang are usually presented through government-issued photos or occasional holiday snaps," the Guardian's Maeve Shearlaw notes, "but a new tourism film offers a very different view."
That view would look familiar to anyone who lives in or has visited a major metropolitan area: commuters at a bustling train station, taxis, bikers, tourists, women pushing strollers, kids smiling as they whip around a skate park.
According to Singh, they were not allowed to shoot "any construction sites, undeveloped locations or military personnel," but otherwise "were given relatively free reign." (Relatively, since they were accompanied by two guides from the country's National Tourism Administration office at all times.)
"'Enter Pyongyang' is an observational film," Singh wrote in a post introducing the video. "At no point did Koryo Tours or we have to pretend to be supporters of the DPRK Government or their philosophy in order to be granted permission to shoot this film. Amazingly, we were given complete editorial control in the making of this piece."
He added that they were not paid for the six-day shoot, though their expenses were picked up by the tour company.