Crossing the Line (2006) DVDRip
English | 0103 | 720x400 | XviD | 25fps 953kbps | Mp3 128kbps 44.1khz | 704MB
Genre: Documentary

A British documentary about US Army defector James Dresnok currently living in North Korea after having defected during the 60s.

The story of US soldier James Joseph Dresnok, who deserted his unit in 1962 while guarding the peace in South Korea. After walking the most heavily fortified area on earth, he defected to the Cold War enemy, finding fame as a film actor and being hailed as a coveted star of the North Korean propaganda machine. Forty-five years later, this film reveals the lives of Comrade Joe and other American defectors.

At midday on August 15, 1962, in the depths of the Cold War, a depressed US Army private, James 'Joe' Dresnok, left his post on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone, a 2.5-mile-wide strip of no man's land that bisects the Korean peninsula into North and South Korea. The 21-year-old bolted across the most heavily fortified border on earth, directly through a minefield, and into another world.

One of four American defectors who crossed over to the hard-line communist North during the 1960s, Dresnok has lived in the North Korean capital Pyongyang ever since, and has not been seen by the outside world for 44 years.

Now, the American defector's astonishing story is being told for the first time in a documentary called Crossing The Line, which has its television debut on BBC4 next week. It is a story of betrayal, kidnappings and the alleged "breeding" of spies in the most secretive nation on the planet.

Dresnok lives in a small, egalitarian flat - provided by the North Korean government - in Pyongyang with his third wife, the daughter of a local woman and a Togolese diplomat. They have a son, and Dresnok appears content. "I don't have intentions of leaving," he says defiantly.
"Couldn't give a s**t if you put a billion damn dollars of gold on the table."

The family has little access to information from the outside world. Like every Pyongyang home, the apartment is equipped with a radio that spouts communist propaganda during daylight hours. It can be turned down, but never turned off, though power cuts are frequent.

Occasionally, Dresnok is invited to lecture at Pyongyang's Foreign Languages College, but most of his time is spent fishing. During the terrible famine of the late 90s, known in Korea as the 'Arduous March' when millions starved to death, the tall and thickset Dresnok was well fed. "I feel at home. I really feel at home," he says. "I wouldn't trade it for nothing."

The British film crew's access to North Korea came thanks to producer Nicholas Bonner, who has run sightseeing groups into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) - as the North is officially known - via his Beijing- based tour company since 1993. Having entered the isolated country well in excess of 100 times, 45-year- old Bonner has visited the DPRK more than any other westerner.

Bonner and director Daniel Gordon first collaborated on The Game Of Their Lives, a 2002 documentary about the North Korean football team that shocked the world by knocking the Italians out of the 1966 World Cup. "It was then that I began to hear stories that at first glance were mind-blowing, but on reflection seemed too fantastic to be true: Americans were living in North Korea," says Gordon.

Two of the four defectors had died of ill-health. Negotiations on meeting the two survivors - Dresnok and Sgt Charles Robert Jenkins, who crossed over in 1965 - began immediately in Pyongyang. It took two years, and a second documentary - A State Of Mind, which followed two schoolgirl gymnasts - for Gordon and Bonner to convince suspicious officials of their intentions. Filming of Crossing The Line began in June 2004.

The documentary, narrated by the American actor Christian Slater, kicks off with Dresnok, disillusioned and miserable on duty in Korea. Several things loom over him his unhappy childhood as an orphan in Norfolk, Virginia, a failed teenage marriage, and, most urgently, a threatened court-martial for leaving his post to visit prostitutes. This is the misfit who, without really thinking what he was letting himself in for, suddenly decided to run for it.

Incorporating archive footage never before seen outside the DPRK, Crossing The Line then picks up four years later when Dresnok and the three other US defectors, including Jenkins, decide they've made a mistake and seek asylum in the Soviet Embassy. The Russians swiftly hand them back and Dresnok realises he is trapped and will have to learn to fit in.
He eventually finds acceptance in Pyongyang by appearing as an evil American in propaganda movies like 1978's Nameless Heroes, in which he plays the brutal US commander of a PoW camp during the 1950-53 Korean War.
He found acceptance by appearing as an evil American in propaganda movies

Crossing The Line explores allegations that North Korea kidnapped nationals of other countries to marry them off to the Americans the idea being that the couples would then have foreign-looking children who could be used as spies for the DPRK.

Dresnok's current wife is his second North Korean marriage. His first was to a woman suspected of having been a Romanian kidnapped in Italy. She died, but not before bearing him two sons one of whom, despite his blond hair and blue eyes, plans to become a North Korean diplomat.

Dresnok says: "I was married to... I don't know what." On trying to learn of his previous wife's background, Dresnok admits, "I'd get her drunk and ask. [She would say] shut up. Don't ask no questions. After so many times, I quit. I didn't care."

The Koreans have admitted that the Japanese wife they found for Sgt Jenkins was indeed kidnapped as a teenager in 1978 in order to help train North Korean spies in Japanese language and customs. In 2002, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il allowed a number of abductees - including Jenkins's wife - to return home. Jenkins, with his two daughters, followed two years later via Indonesia, which has no extradition treaty with the US. He had promised he
would return to Pyongyang, but went on to Japan instead, where he was court-martialled by the Americans. At the direct request of the Japanese government, he was let off lightly with just 30 days' confinement.

Jenkins, who now lives in Japan, was keen to tell of decades of misery in the DPRK, claiming that whenever he upset the North Korean authorities he would be tied to a chair and beaten by Dresnok. Jenkins, who stands at just 1.65m, described his compatriot as being "196cm tall, weighed 128kg. He's big. He likes to beat someone. And because I was a sergeant, he took it out on me."

"He's a liar," Dresnok claims in Crossing The Line, his gold-capped teeth flashing with anger. "I'd like to kill the son of a bitch."

Despite his macho bluster, 65-year-old Dresnok's health is now failing, and producer Bonner says he lives out his days smoking, drinking the fiery Korean grain spirit soju and hanging out with his fishing buddies, with whom he speaks fluent Korean. At one point in Crossing The Line, the camera focuses in on his catch as it gasps for life on a cold concrete riverbank in Pyongyang. It is, quite literally, a dying fish out of water.

Sceenshot:



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