Sunday, April 16, 2006


A State of Mind

A State of Mind I finished a fascinating British documentary "A State of Mind." The film follows two young girls in North Korean who practiced vigorously at school preparing for the world's largest extravaganza of choreographed gymnastics performance.

The film gives us a rare and closer look of daily lives in North Korea, without any judgment. At least the filmmaker is trying to be neutral, not to make a political propaganda film. I think it's an incredible hard job to do because the object is North Korea, which almost everybody has a strong opinion about. That means that people from both sides of the fences might accuse the filmmaker's motive. The filmmaker did a remarkable job on earning the trust of these two girls and their families, and even the North Korean government. They had a brilliant film and we were told an interesting story.

Perhaps due to the Easter Sunday, I couldn't help to think about religion when I watched this film. Ray pointed out that I shouldn't have criticized "Resurrection of Jesus" without understanding the term. The truth is that I am not criticizing, I am simply observing. And I don't understand what I observed, so I asked questions. I also observed that devoted Christians don't ask that kind of questions. They have all the answers in the bible.

North Korean people worship their leader and love their leader unconditionally and unquestionably. Their great leader is the brightest genies and he makes the most brilliant decisions for them. They will die and sacrifice anything for the great leader. They never question their mindsets, because they are true believers. The US calls them a cult, because the US doesn't like their leader, some of them call North Korean people crazy.

I don't understand what make the North Korean people think that way, and I don't understand what make the US thinks the North Korean. I ask questions. I search for answers by watching this film.

It's fascinating to see how the two girl's dream is to perform for the great leader one day. It can have unbelievable power to motive them to train as hard as the Olympic competitors. In fact, every kid in school looks like a professional gymnastic.

They are really good. Actually, they are incredibly good. The final show is simply magnificent and it puts any Olympic opening ceremony's show to a backbench. This is what North Korean people use to unite themselves and to demolish individualism. You no longer see each individual when every one moves together like one person. Every military knows this theory and needs that. That's the reason every military trains so hard to make their soldiers march well, unless they are from Iraq.

We don't see starvation in the film. We see North Korean people love their leader deeply and happily work, study, and live in North Korea. By looking at the kids at school and in the energetic performance, you don't see a trace of hunger as the Western media portraits the images of North Korea. Of course, none of these kids are obese stuffed with Burger King buns and French fries either.

If the US invades North Korean tomorrow, the North Korean people will not see the US as a liberator, but an invader, as seen in Iraq.

People in different societies and different cultures simply have different values and mindsets. It's ok that we are all different. But it can be a dangerous game, even a disaster, trying to make others to think the same way as you do.

This is an excellent thought provoking documentary. My rating: 8 out of 10.

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