EVERY piece of news concerning North Korea seems mad, whether it’s an airport assassination, their regulated haircuts or nuclear threats, but this edition of Storyville tells a story that's madder than most.

Choi Eun Hee was South Korea’s most famous actress and when she married her director they became a golden couple, making films together, winning awards, being mobbed by fans, and meeting Marilyn Monroe.

But the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was watching, made jealous by the sparkling films being made by Seoul, so he arranged for the beautiful Choi Eun Hee to be kidnapped and brought to him. Her husband was also taken, and they were forced to produce films for the miserable North, only escaping after seven years when they managed to flee to the American Embassy during a film festival in Vienna.

It’s a strange story indeed, with some people insisting they chose to defect to the Communists, but maybe that’s a necessary claim as the truth seems just too strange to accept.


TRISH returns to the scene of the crime, which is made even more sinister in daylight because the sun is out and the birds are tweeting. As she walks through the grand old house with the police, short bursts of memory come to her in the form of noisy flashbacks from the party, and she begins to remember details.

In the flashbacks we see a different Trish, one who is confident and sassy, and it shows how severely the attack has dented her spirit and attitude, with her now constantly pale and nervous. “I was so happy that night,” she says sadly.

As she recalls fragments of the evening, the trauma overwhelms her and she sobs and vomits on the ground. Julie Hesmondhalgh’s acting here is brilliant.