A State of Mind (2005)
Two young gymnasts prepare for the Mass Games, one of North Korea's most important and elaborate events. Marked by its unprecedented access, this eye-opening film not only provides footage of the games themselves but it also shows the daily lives of people in one of the world's most closed societies.
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Critic Reviews for A State of Mind
This fascinating documentary details day-to-day life in the hard-line Communist state of North Korea.
A riveting BBC documentary that illuminates the character of that nation.
A fresh, straightforward portrayal of what the film calls 'the least visible ... least known ... least understood ... country in the world.'
Gordon gives an intimate, balanced account of how political power, famine, power shortages and a hatred of America have shaped their young lives.
The biggest value of the movie is the depiction of Pyongyang life, the elaborate Mass Games choreography, a wondrous road trip to the revered Mount Paektu, and the ideological mind-set of typical North Korean citizens.
A North Korean version of films like "Hoop Dreams". Humanizes a people who are considered outside of humanity in the West.
Will raise many more questions about totalitarianism, and about the foreign policies of Western countries with regard to North Korea, than it ever answers.
Thrusts you into the near-hypnotic mentality of a 1984-ish place. But once you return to [your] society . . . [look again at] those darkly concealing words, "freedom" and "democracy."
The film gives a rare glimpse into everyday life in the Far East-wing of the Axis of Evil.
It's so secretive, so insulated, that it's hard to imagine what life there is really like. That's what makes A State of Mind ... essential viewing.
The documentary about life in North Korea sets the story of two girls against the backdrop of a huge tribute to leader Kim Jong Il, and it's the backdrop that is more compelling.
Reading between the lines is recommended - and essential - during viewing.
Its mission is to foster understanding of a place and a people behind some politicians' 'axis of evil.' And it succeeds admirably.
The film is also admirably intimate, giving a human face to those living in a totalitarian society; their fears, joys, inspirations, and hopes.
Audience Reviews for A State of Mind
[font=Century Gothic]"State of Mind" is a documentary filmed in 2003 by a BBC film crew that was allowed unprecedented access in North Korea to follow two teenage gymnasts, Park Hyon Sun and Kim Sung Yun, as they train for the Mass Games, "a social realist extravagansa" performed to celebrate various anniversaries in the nation. It turns out that people are pretty much the same wherever you go, just the circumstances and governments change. For example, North Korea's isolation allows it to control the information it hands out to the citizens. And the society is shaped around a very extreme cult of personality.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]But the documentarians try too hard to make a political statement, and that especially shows in the heavy-handed narration.(Narration should only be used to impart information, not to do a play-by-play.) They needed to let the viewers come to their own conclusions.(Whatever you think of the politics, you have to admit Communists know how to put on a show. Whereas, anarchists usually field the better softball teams...) [/font]
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