Right before US President Donald Trump stepped on stage for yesterday’s long-winded post-summit press conference yesterday, a rather bizarre video first made its premiere in front of more than 200 members of the world’s media.
The propagandistic video pitched a possible future for North Korea if its leader, Kim Jong Un, “showed vision and leadership.” It played like a trailer for a B-grade Hollywood flick, but the plot is very much playing out in real life.
This trailer had everything — dramatic voiceovers, stock footage, black and white pictures of North Koreans, Sylvester Stallone, drone deliveries, and a quote by Kim about belt-tightening. We didn’t quite get a good look at the clip yesterday, as we were watching a remote feed, so it was only after the White House released the video online that we get to see just how truly odd it is.
“A new world can begin today. One of friendship, respect, and goodwill. Be part of that world, where the doors of opportunity are ready to be opened—investment from around the world, where you can have medical breakthroughs, an abundance of resources, innovative technology, and new discoveries,” boomed the epic trailer voice.
The context is this. The surreal video — produced with both English and Korean narration — was actually shown to the North Korean leader and his delegation during the summit at Cappella Hotel, Trump said, and according to him, they were “fascinated.”
“I think he (Kim) loved it. I thought they were fascinated. I thought it was well done. I showed it to you because that is the future. I mean, that could very well be the future. And the other alternative is just not a very good alternative,” Trump said in a press conference filled with many strange moments and comments.
The video was so overtly ambitious, schlocky and corny that The Washington Post reported other journalists in the room assuming that the clip was North Korean propaganda. The New York Times improved the trailer by a hundredfold.
The Village Voice seriously reviewed the trailer and what they found was… grim.
“[The] Trump-Kim trailer represents something deeper and more sinister, wherein the language of schlock now seems to lead the way and define the debate,” wrote film critic Bilge Ebiri of the Village Voice. “Watching this thing, it starts to become clear (if it wasn’t already) that Trump and Kim aren’t meeting to better their societies or to make the world a safer place, but so they can have a fake movie hero moment like this.”
Then there’s Destiny Pictures, a production house that apparently did the clip. It apparently doesn’t exist, even though there is an actual company called Destiny Pictures, one that doesn’t have any connection to the White House.
— Austin Ramzy (@austinramzy) June 13, 2018
Perhaps the usage of the word “destiny” is intentional. It’s a psychological hammer to hit the North Koreans into, as Trump said in response to a reporter’s question, doing the right thing. And perhaps it was smart to speak to the North Koreans in a common language they could understand —movies. Propaganda movies, in particular.