Crossing the Line
Feature documentary directed by Daniel Gordon

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

232 Third Street @ Third Avenue
Gowanus, Brooklyn (Between Carroll gardens and Park Slope)
In the event of rain the show is indoors at the same location.

Presented in partnership with -, New York magazine &
X 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.

Nana 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.