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A State of Mind (2005)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,532

My Rating

Movie Info

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.

Feb 7, 2006

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (3) | DVD (3)

This fascinating documentary details day-to-day life in the hard-line Communist state of North Korea.

September 30, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
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A riveting BBC documentary that illuminates the character of that nation.

September 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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It's a quietly wrenching eye-opener.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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A fresh, straightforward portrayal of what the film calls 'the least visible ... least known ... least understood ... country in the world.'

September 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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Gordon gives an intimate, balanced account of how political power, famine, power shortages and a hatred of America have shaped their young lives.

September 1, 2005 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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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.

August 26, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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A North Korean version of films like "Hoop Dreams". Humanizes a people who are considered outside of humanity in the West.

June 28, 2007 Full Review Source:

Will raise many more questions about totalitarianism, and about the foreign policies of Western countries with regard to North Korea, than it ever answers.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International | Comment (1)
Film Journal International

a slanted view is better than none at all

February 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

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."

May 18, 2006
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

State of Mind is an eye-opener.

January 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The film gives a rare glimpse into everyday life in the Far East-wing of the Axis of Evil.

September 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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.

September 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

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.

September 8, 2005 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Reading between the lines is recommended - and essential - during viewing.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Its mission is to foster understanding of a place and a people behind some politicians' 'axis of evil.' And it succeeds admirably.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

The film is also admirably intimate, giving a human face to those living in a totalitarian society; their fears, joys, inspirations, and hopes.

August 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmjourney

English filmmaker Daniel Gordon grants us a rare glimpse of daily life inside the most secretive nations on earth, and it's just as weird as you thought.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

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][/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]
January 23, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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