‘Bend It Like Beckham’ becomes first Western film broadcast on North Korea TV

2002 Keira Knightley movie cut from 112 minutes to an hour

Bend It Like Beckham has become the first Western-made film to be broadcast on North Korean television.

The British film screened on December 26 in the country. The original length was 112 minutes, but it was cut to an hour for the broadcast.

The 2002 film starred Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley, and told the story of an Asian teenage girl who defies the wishes of her Indian parents to play football.

The film tackles issues including homosexuality, religion and interracial relationships.

The British ambassador to South Korea, Martin Uden, posted a message on his Twitter page, Twitter.com/martin_uden confirming the screening of the film in the country, which has severed ties with most of the rest of the world in terms of media and general communication.

A message flashed on screen during the film’s broadcast, saying it marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Britain and North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is a known movie fan and owns a library of over 15,000 DVDs. It has previously been reported that the dictator has directed his own propaganda films.