Airdate: North Korea: Inside The Mind of a Dictator

National Geographic tonight screens the first of a two part special, North Korea: Inside The Mind of a Dictator.

This takes viewers through Kim Jong Un’s past and present to understand the man and the myth who holds North Korea’s uncertain future in his hands.

Kim Jong Un has a decision to make: maintain his brutal family legacy or become a legitimate leader, a dilemma that could ultimately destroy the Kim dynasty. As North Korea faces a critical crossroads, North Korea: Inside The Mind Of A Dictator chronicles the life and reign of Kim Jong Un as the young and unpredictable leader attempts to turn around his nation’s fortunes.

From 72 Films (“Inside North Korea’s Dynasty,” “Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents,” “Trump: An American Dream”) North Korea: Inside The Mind Of A Dictator features never-before-seen interviews that shed new light on the duality of Kim Jong Un, both his capacity for ruthlessness and a softer side nostalgic for his youth. For the first time in an extended global television interview, one of the assassins of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Siti Aisyah, tells her extraordinary full story. Also, in a world exclusive, João Micaelo, Kim’s former childhood classmate, speaks publicly, for the first time, about visiting Kim in North Korea. North Korea: Inside The Mind Of A Dictator also tracks the game-changing rise of Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jung, to his right-hand woman and voice of the regime, maintaining order using fear and violence while her brother reinvents himself as a modern leader.

First-hand testimonies, intimate archival footage and rare interviews paint an in-depth portrait of a fractured country. Key moments that give a fresh perspective on the notorious dictator and his family’s dynasty also include the following:

• a rare interview with Kim Dong Chul, the longest-held American in North Korea, who was imprisoned for spying for the CIA;
• the story of Kim Jong Un’s aunt and uncle who cared for him as a teenager before escaping to the United States;
• US Ambassador John Bolton’s critiques of Trump’s negotiations with North Korea at the summit in Hanoi, insight on the breakdown in peace talks and Kim’s subsequent wrath;
• and an interview with Lee Young Guk, a bodyguard to Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, who spent significant time with Kim Jong Un as a child.

To understand Kim Jong Un’s leadership decisions over the past three years, including his encounters with President Donald Trump and his plans for the “hermit kingdom,” experts, journalists and government officials unravel the inner workings of Kim’s mind and his tumultuous past as he works to determine his legacy. The two-hour special delves into the complex family dynamics of the Kim dynasty at the heart of North Korea’s history and operations and offers key insight on his school days in Europe, the failed Hanoi summit and North Korea’s growing arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The two part special also takes a deep dive into the psychology and history of the elusive Supreme Leader in order to better understand his all-encompassing dynastic power and struggle to keep a grip on control while navigating an uncertain future. From his isolated childhood to the fleeting freedom he experienced in his teenage years to his attempts at diplomacy under the pressure of crippling sanctions, the series pulls back the curtain on a dictator torn between the old ways he grew up with and the encroaching modern world.

North Korea: Inside The Mind Of A Dictator is produced for National Geographic by 72 Films. For 72 Films, Mark Raphael and David Glover are executive producers. For National Geographic, Carolyn Payne is executive producer.

8:30pm Tuesday March 9 & 16 on National Geographic.

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