You could say that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has two primary obsessions: maintaining nuclear weapons capability as a means of protecting his “hermit kingdom,” and thwarting pressure from outside forces like from America and the rest of the industrialized world to open his country to modern things like electricity… and he’s obsessed with film. He loves movies. It’s rumored that he has one of the largest private film collections in the world. His favorite film is Gone with the Wind and his favorite actress is Elizabeth Taylor. He’s a film collector and bona fide cinephile, but he’s much more. He’s everything really. He’s a director, a producer, a financier, a costume maker, set designer, screenwriter, cameraman, sound engineer… and he’s also a film theorist.

His masterwork on aesthetics and practice is “On the Art of Cinema” (written and published in the early 1970s). In it he gives himself the humble title, “Genius of the Cinema.” He built an extensive film studio in Pyongyang and when he couldn’t find someone to make his film. He did what any self-respecting eternal leader and great president would do, he kidnapped one. 

Vice founder Shane Smith visits North Korea to try and penetrate the Korean Feature Film Studio, the state-run film production facility west of Pyongyang: a sprawling lot that at its height produced around 40 films a year.



And the winner is...

Thank you to everyone who entered our first giveaway. We wrote your names on bits of paper, put them in a hat and the winner was...


In an age of internationalism, and with increasing internet access, it's fair to ask whether actually visiting a country is prerequisite to know, understand, and write about it. It's a question we had in mind when we came up with our new feature I'VE NEVER BEEN TO.... Essentially it's an occasional travelogue series, in which we ask people to write about a country they've never been to. Simple. First up, we asked Tom Mews to tell us what he loves about Sweden.


Our favourite Pavement band member (srsly) Scott Kannberg AKA Spiral Stairs will be playing a tiny late night show on the Wednesday 12th May at the Brixton Windmill, shortly after his appearance at the sold out Pavement show on the same night at the Brixton Academy.

Doors will be at 11pm, and tickets have just gone on sale priced £8.50 from We Got Tickets.

Anyone who doesn't think he can hold his own against SM as a songwriter should click below to see some videos or our favourite Spiral Stairs-penned songs.


Billy Bragg was recently in his hometown of Barking distributing literature for the Hope Not Hate campaign when he bumped into the BNP Councillor Richard Barnbrook, who was campaigning for the BNP. Luckily for us, it was filmed for posterity.


Following on from our Guide to Pontefract a few weeks back, we sent Jack Winn to Wakefield to take a look at the local music scene of what the Performing Rights Society describe as the 'third most musicl city in the UK'


Simon Roberts' book Motherland, a photographric journey around the far-flung corners of Russia, is one of our favourite of all time, so naturally we were super excited to hear that he had been selected as the official election artist for the forthcoming General Election in the UK.
Simon is asking members of the public to contribute their own photographs of political activity in their area, with some going on to be exhibited in the House of Commons later this year.  Click through to find out how you can take part.


The new video from Good Shoes supporting the upcoming single 'The Way My Heart Beats'.  A simple concept, brilliantly-executed.  Pre-order the 7" here.


Friend of PARTYNICE Nestor Watach runs an awesome music blog called Don't Make Lists. He's putting on a show. Check out this incredible poster by Tim Green.

Click through for more of his work.


Symptoms of a Larger Problem by Jean-Marie Le Brestec.

We were drawn to the aesthetics of Jean-Marie's set whist browsing our flickr pool. It's worth clicking through to his flickr to see the rest of the set, which tackles man's difficult relationship with suburban nature.


Fashion: Style?

Don’t twitch in disgust/excitement (delete as applicable) in your seat just yet. I’m not here to Facehunt you. I don’t want to snap you artfully slouched in your thrift store threads (sorry, although I’m sure they’re lovely). I won’t bang on about what’s on-trend. There are enough people doing that already. Enter: bloggers!


Ever missed someone? What did you do? Write a letter? Email? Skype? When Rob Matthews had to leave his friend Trevor in Minneapolis, he produced t-shirts and posters to give to his friends back home, so when ever he missed Trevor they’d put them on and pretend to be him.


For our first giveaway, we're offering up a recommissioned 1980s cult-classic Olympus XA2 with original case.

Described as 'the camera that professional photographers carry on their vacations', the XA2 has a 35mm 1:3.5 4-element lens that will outperform many a point-and-shoot.

So how do you enter? See below for all the details...


Sir John Betjeman described Pontefract thus, 'The light and dangling licorice flowers / Gave off the sweetest smells; / From various black Victorian towers / The Sunday evening bells / Came pealing over dales and hills / And tanneries and silent mills / And lowly streets where country stops / And little shuttered corner shops.'

The tanneries, mills and shuttered corner shops have since been replaced by, well, public houses, mainly. So much so, in fact, that it is believed that the town now has the highest concentration of pubs in the whole of the UK. We sent Vincent Krasauskas to investigate.