North Korea is a notoriously secretive place that is often hostile to outsiders, especially Western journalists. Which means that getting an unfiltered, unvarnished look at everyday life inside the Hermit Kingdom is incredibly rare. Most of what the outside world gets to see is carefully crafted regime propaganda or the occasional heavily edited, stylized documentary.
That’s what makes this short video by Finnish journalist Mika Mäkeläinen so fascinating. Mäkeläinen is the Asia correspondent for Finland's Yle Uutiset news program and had visited the county to cover the recent “Day of the Sun” celebrations marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder (and the current leader’s grandfather).
The video is roughly 12 minutes of raw footage he captured on April 18 as he was traveling in a minibus from downtown Pyongyang, the country’s capital, toward the airport. “I shot it openly through the windshield, and nobody told me not to film,” Mäkeläinen told me.
It is, as he puts it in his Finnish-language Facebook post, a “rare delicacy”: