Under The Sun (V Paprscich Slunce)

Vitaly Mansky

Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Latvia, North Korea, 2015 / 106 min / Korean original with English subtitles / Documentary

In presence of the director Vitaly Mansky.

A year in the ideal life of an ideal North Korean family.

“Under the Sun” is a film about the ideal life in an ideal country. About how new ideal people are joining this perfect world. We can see how much effort the North Korean people have to undertake to make this ideal world work. Every North Korean is ready to give his life for this world.
We see the process of the creation of these ideals, we see a girl in an ideal school, the daughter of ideal parents, working at ideal factories, living in an ideal apartment. The girl is going to be prepared to enter the children’s union to be a part of the ideal society, living in the eternal rays of the sun, the symbol of the great leader of the people, Kim Il-sung.

“Under the Sun” shows behind-the-scenes coercion by government minders trying to construct an image of a “normal” family. Mansky manages to film the real deal behind it all: from small time comrades who fight against sleep during official events to the tears Zin-mi cries at a gruelling dance lesson.

Fri 26/02 19:00 Ciné Utopia Korean original with English subtitles Public
Sat 27/02 16:30 Cinémathèque Korean original with English subtitles Public

Mansky's documentary […] is fairly straightforward in the observational material he's captured in the frame, ahead of any editing he's done. That makes the film as tragic as it is funny. It's acceptable to laugh at the absurdity of some of the staged situations, but a lot is also disturbing and sad […]. Christopher Campbell, Indiewire, 18.11.2015

“Under the Sun”, the latest documentary by veteran Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky, was overseen almost completely by officials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, as it is officially known). As such, you might expect to walk away with whatever image you think those officials want you to have, and likely that was their intention. Instead, what Mansky gives, even under these restraints, is an odd and fascinating portrait of this nation. Shelagh Rowan-Legg,, 23.11.2015

There is no such thing as an objective documentary. Under The Sun could have fallen into the trap of becoming heavy-handed propaganda itself, but Mansky mostly maintains a humane and non-judgmental distance. Aside from adding a few explanatory captions on screen, he does not editorialize, simply allowing these staged vignettes to tell their own creepy story. He also captures some fascinating reportage images of everyday life inside Pyongyang, with its majestic Moscow-style subway stations, drab apartment blocks and virtually traffic-free boulevards. Stephen Dalton,, 20.11.2015

  • Award for Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film – Between the Seas, Jihlava IDF, 2015 (Czech Republic)
  • Special Jury Award as well as Jury Prize for Best Director, Black Nights IFF Tallin, 2015 (Estonia)
Cast & Credits
Vitaly Mansky
Alexandra Ivanova, Mikhail Gorobchuk
Evgeniya Lachina, Anrijs Krenbergs
Kārlis Auzāns
Vertov. Real Cinema
Saxonia Entertainment, Hypermarket Film, MDR, Czech TV
Deckert Distribution GmbH, Bontonfilm

Vitaly Mansky (1963, Ukraine) attended the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow and is now one of the most famous documentary makers from Eastern Europe. He has made numerous successful documentaries, amongst them a trilogy about the three Russian presidents Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin. He is also the president of the documentary film festival Artdocfest which takes place every year in the Russian capital.

  • 2015 V luchakh solnca
  • 2015 V paprscich slunce
  • 2014 Vechny ogon (short)
  • 2013 Truba (Pipeline) (doc)
  • 2011 Rodina ili smert (Motherland and or death)
  • 2008 Rassvet / Zakat. Dalai Lama 14 (Dawn / Sunset Dalai Lama 14)
  • 2008 Devstvennost (Virginity)
  • 2007 Zhar nezhnykh. Dikiy, dikiy plyazh
  • 2005 Nasha rodina
  • 2003 Anatomiya t.a.t.u (T.A.T.U.’S Anatomy) (TV doc)
  • 2002 Brodvey. Chernoe more (Boradway. The black sea)
  • 1999 Chastnye kroniki. Monolog (Private chronicles monologue)
  • 1990 Everyskoe schaste
  • 1988 Bumerang