Politics Aside, NY Phil in North Korea Is Film Worthy
From the Archives: Film documents the performance, the visit
Earlier this year, the New York Philharmonic traveled to North Korea to become the first Western orchestra in modern times to perform in that totalitarian socialist nation. The symphony performed brilliantly and was well received by its hosts. On those points, all can agree. And this newly released film documentary (available on DVD and Blu-ray) aptly captures both the supercharged atmosphere that surrounded this historic trip and the high-caliber performance at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre. What folks can't agree on is whether the orchestra should have traveled to North Korea at all—some argue that the landmark trip served to thaw the diplomatic chill between the United States and the brutal socialist regime, others contend that the trip merely gave legitimacy to an illegitimate regime that has been accused of numerous human rights violations. Whatever your point of view, this well-produced documentary has chronicled the controversial concert for posterity, presented here in both digital stereo and 5.1 surround sound.