Beyond Utopia


Mon 20 Nov 7.30pm      Book Now

Tue 21 Nov 7.30pm      Book Now

Thu 23 Nov 7.30pm      Book Now

Duration: 116 mins
AGE Rating: Cert 15
Adults £10
Under 16s £5


“It’s one thing to read about North Korea’s brutal, isolated dictatorship, and quite another to watch the terrifying journeys of those trying to flee its clutches. That’s just what Madeleine Gavin’s overwhelming documentary Beyond Utopia does in showing one family’s nerve-wracking flight from North Korea through China and other countries with the help of South Korean pastor Kim Seungeun, a veteran manager of such efforts.” (Nicolas Rapold, from the 2023 Sundance Film Festival).  See our Reviews page for the full review.

A suspenseful look at the lengths people will go to gain freedom, Beyond Utopia follows various individuals as they attempt to flee North Korea, one of the most oppressive places on Earth, a land they grew up believing was a paradise.

At the film’s core are a mother desperate to reunite with the child she was forced to leave behind; a family of five — including small children and an elderly grandmother — embarking on a treacherous journey across the Yalu River and into the hostile mountains of China; and a man of God on a mission to help these desperate souls.

Leaving their homeland is fraught with danger — severe punishment if caught and possibly even execution — as well as potential exploitation by unscrupulous brokers. Family members who remain behind also may face retribution. Yet these individuals are driven to take the risk. Gripping, visceral, and urgent, Madeleine Gavin’s film embeds the viewer with these family members as they attempt their perilous escape, palpably conveying life-or- death stakes. The result is a singular, illuminating, and unforgettable experience.