For Into the Inferno, Werner Herzog’s new Netflix doc about active volcanoes, the filmmaker/documentarian/cult hero travels to the farthest-flung corners of the world. One of the film’s most curious locations is also one of the more daring for anybody to try and film: North Korea.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Herzog mentioned that he was able to obtain “special permits” from the notoriously sequestered military dictatorship in order to film its Mount Paektu, an active volcano on the Chinese border, and spoke of how uncommon his experience was:
“In North Korea everything is surprising, everything is different. People do not have cell phones because the general population doesn’t have contact to the outside world. Meaning they have no radio from outside, no television, no newspapers — it’s only the party propaganda newspaper. Everything is different there, and we have to take a good look at it because North Korea is a very, very strange but very fascinating country.”
North Korea’s infamously restrictive laws don’t often attract even the boldest filmmakers, but a filmmaker who once sent Klaus Kinski careening down the Amazon River in a boat for the sake of cinematic authenticity isn’t likely to be deterred. And let’s be honest, “special permits” are probably easier to come by for a filmmaker whose Rogue Film School describes itself as a place where you can learn “the creation of your own shooting permits.” Nobody’s pointing fingers here, it’s just worth mentioning.
You can watch the clip of the EW interview up below. Into the Inferno will premiere on Netflix tomorrow, October 28th.