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Aim High in Creation! (ATOM study guide)

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    Aim High in Creation! (Anna Broinowski, 2013) is a revolutionary film about the cinematic genius of North Korea's late Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il, with a groundbreaking experiment at its heart – the making of a film-within-a-film based on the rules of his 1987 manifesto The Cinema and Directing.

    Determined to stop a gas mine being built near her inner-city Sydney home, Anna Broinowski (the director of this documentary), in a world-first, goes to North Korea to meet the masters of propaganda cinema, who teach her how to make a revolutionary drama in which 'heroic workers' overthrow the 'evil gas miners' – all executed in the Dear Leader's proudly melodramatic style.

    Back in Sydney, Anna's brave western cast follow the North Koreans' instructions, culminating in an uplifting, anti-capitalist drama. Whether the film stops the mine or is a glorious turkey of which only the Dear Leader can be proud, Aim High in Creation! forges an astonishingly human bond between North Korea's filmmakers and their western counterparts. It reveals an unexpected connection between us and the most isolated nation on Earth – filmmakers are family.

    The film is a feature-length documentary and runs for 97 minutes. It offers a personal and idiosyncratic look at a country and culture that most westerners know and understand very little about. Most westerners know almost nothing about this Asian country except that it is ruled by the Kim family and was characterised in 2002 by then American President George W Bush as part of the 'axis of evil', along with Iran and Iraq.

    Curriculum Guidelines
    One of the cross-curriculum priorities to be addressed in the National Curriculum is an understanding of the richness and diversity of Asian cultures. The film addresses this priority admirably by engaging with a society regarded by many in the West as hostile to western views, 'sabre-rattling' and alien. If it is important for students to develop an understanding of diverse cultures and societies, this film shows a society as different from Australia as almost anywhere on Earth.

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