Cold War Fever

James Joseph Dresnok calls himself a simple man, but he's got secrets to share — or hide. Now in his mid-60s, the bulky, chain-smoking Virginian has lived in North Korea since the day in 1962 he blew off his messed-up Army career and walked across the demilitarized zone. Crossing the Line, U.K. filmmaker Daniel Gordon's third documentary about the least-known member of the so-called Axis of Evil, is a powerhouse portrait of an unhappy, uneducated young man who traded his dead-end life for a fresh start in, of all places, a Communist dictatorship. Dresnok, along with three other GIs who defected in the '60s, seemingly thrived on generous rations and a juicy role as a villainous American in a 20-part, big-screen propaganda serial. Certainly he achieved a celebrity and status he would never have attained in the U.S. Over the course of 94 bizarrely fascinating minutes, Dresnok evinces no regrets, outside of his miserable childhood and his first wife's betrayal. And yet he intentionally remains an enigma, inviting us to puzzle over the peculiarities of identity and destiny.
Aug. 17-23

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