CNN’s N.K. Docu.: Harrowing, Remarkable

By Brian 

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“The best thing on CNN all week was the special on North Korea…but nobody mentions it,” an e-mailer said this afternoon.

Well let’s correct that: “Underground in the Secret State” was a frightening and powerful documentary.

“The documentary’s grainy and often unfocused hidden-camera footage of executions, of corpses of famine victims lying in the street, of skeletal children who look like survivors of some Asian version of Auschwitz are a kind of video samizdat, as remarkable for its mere existence as for what it actually shows,” Glen Garvin wrote over the weekend.

The program was produced by Hardcash Productions for CNN and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. It was written, produced and directed by Sarah MacDonald, reported by Jung-Eun Kim, and executive produced by David Henshaw for Hardcash and Sid Bedingfield for CNN. Frank Sesno narrated.

For CNN Presents, Jennifer Hyde served as supervising producer, Jody Gottlieb as executive director of production and Kathy Slobogin as managing editor.

> McDonald says some of the sights were unbearable. The film crew interviewed a man who had been in a concentration camp. “What he described, we didn’t put it in the film,” she said. “It is so appalling, you just can’t imagine.”