Crossing the Line
Feature documentary directed by Daniel
In 1962, a U.S. soldier walked across the most heavily
fortified area on earth and defected to the communist
state of North Korea. After 45 years, the story of Comrade
Joe is told.
SAT., July 14, 2007
8:30 - Live Music by Nana
9:00 - Movies Begin
On the roof of The Old American Can Factory
CLICK for DIRECTIONS
232 Third Street @ Third Avenue
Gowanus, Brooklyn (Between Carroll gardens and
In the event of rain the show is indoors at the same
Presented in partnership with - IFC.com, New York
XØ Projects, Inc
Crossing the Line (Daniel Gordon | UK/North
Korea | 90 min)
The Filmmaker will be present for the screening,
and a Q and A and reception after the film.
After being abandoned by his parents and his first wife,
Joseph Dresnok re-enlisted in the U.S. army and was
sent to patrol the border between North and South Korea.
Feeling betrayed and lonely, and facing a court martial
for leaving his post to visit a prostitute, Dresnok
went AWOL and walked straight across the border into
the North Korean mine fields. He was captured by the
North Korean army, recruited by the Communist government
and transformed into the antagonist star of the North
Korean propaganda machine, typecast forever as the evil
American. In 2004, British documentary filmmaker Daniel
Gordon finally got unrestricted access Dresnok and went
to Pyongyang to interview the only American left living
in North Korea.
Gordon had already directed two film in North Korea
previously (The Game of Their Lives and State of Mind,
both fantastic films in their own right), and so he
had the trust of the DPK government. His films are riveting,
dramatic documents of life above the DMZ that do not
shy away from the political controversies that are inherent
to life in Korea, but they are also basically politically
neutral films. Given such emotionally loaded subject
matter he has the good sense to let the stories tell
themselves without burdening the tales with his own
interpretations and prejudices.
This restraint serves him admirably here, because even
with unlimited access to Dresnok and his family, it
is still nearly impossible to divine the “truth”
from these sensational circumstances. As we listen to
Dresnok as he does his best Robert Mitchum impression
and earnestly defends his many questionable decisions
in a whiskey soaked voice, it becomes increasingly clear
that no one involved in this bizarre Jacobean drama
is going to be easy to trust.
At one point towards the end of “Crossing the
Line,” Dresnok responds to accusations that he
vindictively tortured the other American soldiers on
behalf of the Korean government by saying, “Opinions
are like assholes. Everyone’s got one. But find
the right opinion and you will find the truth.”
Perhaps Dresnok’s is the right asshole, perhaps
not. But regardless, Gordon’s fluid film provides
the west with a tremendously valuable look at a hidden
land that very few of us will ever see in person, and
since the filmmaker will be joining us from England
for a Q and A and reception after the screening, perhaps
we will get the opportunity to ask him which of these
individuals he is inclined to believe.
has been singing and composing music for the past fifteen
years. Back in Korea she was the winner of the prestigious
radio contest Best New Singer with the song Bird's Dream.
Her soothing vocals and traditional, jazz-inspired melodies
are sure to have you calmly nodding along, even if you
don't understand a word of Korean.