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Archive: Fall 2005

A State of Mind

Introduction by Chungmoo Choi, Associate Professor of
East Asian Languages and Literature, Ph.D.

British filmmaker Daniel Gordon offers a rare glimpse behind the iron curtain of North Korea with this new documentary.

North Korea may be unique among nations in not having had a single political demonstration in the past 50 years; however its officially devised Mass Games is a spectacle of extravagant proportions: 100,000 people participate in elaborately choreographed, dazzlingly colorful, jaw-dropping gymnastic displays, after months of daily, grueling rehearsals. It’s all for the delectation of Kim Jong Il, often referred to as “Dear Leader Kim” or “Dear General.” Whether the reclusive dictator will deign to show up on the day of the performance is a matter of constant speculation.

Having previously directed The Game of Their Lives, a documentary look at North Korea’s 1966 World Cup team, Gordon was allowed to follow for nine months the lives of two North Korean schoolgirls (13-year-old Pak Hyon Sun and 11-year-old Kim Song Yun) as they train for the Mass Games. Gordon paints a candid portrait of their difficult (though by North Korean standards, very privileged) lives in this fascinating look at one of the world’s most hidden societies. Through the voice of three generations of North Koreans, the film reveals more of North Korea than anything that’s ever been seen before... (press release)

“JAW-DROPPING. A rare and chilling glimpse into the culture of North Korea.”
—Dana Stevens, The New York Times

2004 • North Korea/United Kingdom • 94 minutes • BetaSP
Directed by Daniel Gordon
In English and Korean with English subtitles

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