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A STATE OF MIND
USA: Kino International
Cast: Pak Hyon Sun, Kim Song Yun
Director: Daniel Gordon
Countries: UK / USA / France / North Korea
Languages: Korean / English (English subtitles)
USA: 93 mins
USA Release Date: 10 August 2005 (Limited Release - New York)
After finishing the 2002 award-winning documentary THE GAME OF THEIR LIVES, director Daniel Gordon and producer Nicholas Bonner were granted permission from the North Korean authorities to make a second feature film: an observational documentary focusing on two young gymnasts, 13 year-old Pak Hyon Sun and 11 year-old Kim Song Yun.
Following a strict routine which involved several hours of daily workouts and gymnast instruction, Kim Song Yun and Pak Hyon Sun practiced through exhaustion-doing pirouettes and cartwheels on a cement floor-and proudly displayed their love for great General Kim Jong Il.
But more than a character expose, A STATE OF MIND features filmed interviews with the girls' family members as well as exclusive footage of North Korean schools, museums, parks, cities and country areas. It connects culture, history and politics into one complex, heartfelt story of a country with strong traditions-and a traumatic past.
A STATE OF MIND not only unravels some of the cultural meanings behind this epic celebration but also places this country's current political status - as a "rogue nation" - in perspective with some of its most important historical moments. By creating a fascinating mixture of essay filmmaking and cinema verite, Daniel Gordon provides us with a rare glimpse into what is one of the world's least known societies.