North Korea Screens Bend It Like Beckham

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December 30, 2010 | 2:15pm EST

North Korean censors have lifted a movie ban to give citizens to a rare treat this week – a televised screening of British film Bend It Like Beckham.
Western films are largely banned in the country but an edited version of the 2002 movie, starring Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Myers, was broadcast on 26 December.

The hour-long edit, arranged by the British Embassy and monitored in Seoul, was a break from the regular state programming of news, documentaries and soap operas.

Bend it Like Beckham, referring to soccer star David Beckham, features several topics considered taboo in North Korea, including interracial relationships, homosexuality and religion.

In a posting on Thursday, British Ambassador to South Korea Martin Uden called it the “1st ever western-made film to air on TV” in North Korea.