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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Showing tonight - the NORTH Korean film A State of Mind

The San Diego Asian Film Foundation is screening the North Korean film A State of Mind. What's interesting about this of course is that this is a peek into one of the most secret societies on earth. This film was actually directed as a documentary by British documentary specialist, Daniel Gordon, who did Crossing the Line this year, and The Game of Their Lives in 2002. This film is reviewed very favorably on IMDB. Below is the films trailer and an excerpt from a review on IMDB:

The most interesting comment from director Daniel Gordon at the Tribeca Film Festival's screening of this movie was about the difficulties encountered in making this film, none of which came from state censors or anyone at all in North Korea. The most resistance came from Western entities (distributors, studios) that dismissed the film as inaccurate because it did not conform to their own notions of what life in North Korea was really like. The tone of this film, with the lives of two young gymnasts at its center, is straight-forward and unpreachy. Aside from brief glimpses of the obligatory posters condemning the U.S., masses in blue suits swearing allegiance to the socialist cause, and abundant references to the General, what we mostly see are the two girls and the intimate details of their lives, singing karaoke with their families, preparing for school in the morning, being chided for not eating their breakfast or doing their homework, and struggling through hours of exhausting gymnastic practice. There is also the spectacular, dizzying footage of the mass games, which alone would be worth the movie ticket. There was never the feeling that this is meant to be an "inside-look," even though the film does owe much of the fascination surrounding it to its subject matter. It was enlightening and entertaining to see what life is like in Pyongyang, but to approach this film as simply a bit of cultural curiosity is to miss the richer experience it offers, one that had me rooting and fretting for the two girls as they approach their final performance, and hoping that their wish to perform in front of the General comes true.

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