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The Last Paradise Hardcover – December 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A strange and striking book...[It] succeeds in overturning the official version and offering us an intentionally subversive story." -- Geneva Tribune

"Beware, you are in front of an exceptional book." -- Edelweiss

"Nicolas Righetti casts a very personal and kitschy eye over North Korea." -- Le Matins

About the Author

Nicolas Righetti was born in Geneva, Switzerland, where he studied at the Insitut d'Etudes Sociales, Geneva and the Ecole Superieure d'Audiovisuel, Toulouse. Righetti has traveled, photographed, and filmed extensively throughout Asian, working as a still photographer on the set of various feature films in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Paris. His photographs have appeared in numerous publications worldwide. A traveling exhibition of these photographs will open in New York in October 2003, and travel thereafter.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Umbrage Editions (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884167322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884167324
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,612,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have already reviewed this on the UK amazon site, but I feel so strongly about this book that I feel compelled to let my American friends know my views as well...... I purchased this book with high expectations, being a keen observer of the "Hermit Kingdom" that is Kim-Jong-Il's North Korea. I saw an interview with the photographer on CNN Europe which persuaded me that this would be a refreshing look at fascinating country - however, I was to be sorely disapointed. The book consists of endless, garish interior photographs, juxtaposed with chunky catchphrases which seem to bear little relation to one another. There is little or no explanation of precisely WHAT each picture is about, and so the reader is unable to build any narrative around life in this secretive country - afterall, that was why I purchased the book. One thing I cannot stress strongly enough is just how poor-quality the actual photographs are; they are grainy and pixelated, badly lit almost to the point of being unrecognisable, and almost all of them simply show a hotel foyer, or an empty room - some are blatently photographed from a television. These are vacation pictures you would be ashamed to show family, because they show nothing of the actual country; after all, North Korea is not the only place in the world to have tacky interior designers. Sad though this may be to say, you probably get a better impression of what Pyongyang looks like by referring to official press phtos; in the meantime, however, if you REALLY want to see tasteless, out-of-date furniture, I suggest you visit your grandmother - at least someone will get pleasure out of the experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Glockner on February 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While I am tempted to agree with the facts of the preceding negative reviews, I believe they've missed the point of the book. It's not meant to be a "narrative around life in this secretive country"; it's meant to be a collection of images that allude to the fantastical narrative of official DPRK propaganda - to "portray the country as it wishes to appear", as the author says in his afterword.

So yes, while the photographs are not of the quality of, e.g., Harris's Inside North Korea (and are in fact occasionally taken from television sets), they are intentionally of this quality, and this book is far more educational and entertaining for it.

And can anyone tell me what the woman on pp 20-21 holding her jacket open while facing a hotel clerk is doing it for? Maybe the book should be PG-14...
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paul S. Kirklin on October 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've never seen a photography book this weak. Typical vacation pictures are much better (I'm not exaggerating). Don't take my word for it, buy the book and see. I didn't listen to the review titled "Paradise Lost" (which was dead on) and I wasted $35.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Dunlap on November 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In the book, the bright, almost cartoonish photographs of neo-constructivist architecture and synchronized folk dancing are juxtaposed with slogans found in the street. "We are Happy," insists an airport sign greeting visitors; "We are in Heaven," reads another sign at a crossroads. The images were culled from video taken in Pyongyang, and the viewer is never quite at ease in the sphere of the book. Reality and fiction strike an uneasy balance as we attempt to sort out which image is truth and which one is something taken from the TV screen in Righetti's hotel room. The nature of video naturally calls up issues of surveillance, but in the case of North Korea it is especially relevant.
Though I see this book as a frightening incarnation of 1984 I think Kim Jong Il might just clap Nicolas on the back for showing the world such lovely photographs of everything the guides want you to see.
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