The Red Chapel

Mads Brügger

'The Red Chapel' is the account of a grotesque undertaking. Looking for a laugh in North Korea, Danish comedians Jacob en Simon, born in South Korea and adopted as a child, are authorized, together with their manager Mads Brügger, to perform a variety act in Pyongyang within the scope of a cultural exchange.

To make things even more complicated for the North Koreans, Jacob is spastic. "All our video recordings are carefully censored", manager Brügger warns us, while pretending to study the handbook 'On the Art of Cinema' by the beloved leader Kim Jong-Il. Only Jacob can say whatever he wants, since the Koreans do not understand his spastic Danish. In the voice-over Brügger can explain his intentions, expose the regime’s dark sides and give his interpretation of the tears on the monument in honour of Kim Il-Sung. "Comedy is the weakness of dictatorship", he presumes, but that is misjudging the North Koreans. The disconcerted and helpless Danish duo is manipulated for propaganda purposes and their performance distorted by a North Korean director. In the meanwhile, their inseparable guide Madam Park seems to have sincere motherly feelings towards Jacob.


Mads Brügger
Peter Engel
Country of production
88 minutes
Spoken language
Danish, English, Korean
Production company
Zentropa RamBUK
World Sales
Danish Film Institute