Night and Day: Wednesday, December 07, 2005
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Pak Hyon-sun and Kim Song-yun in ĎA State of Mind.í
PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
North Country

Seasonís greetings from Pyongyang! British filmmaker Daniel Gordon initially went to North Korea to shoot a documentary called The Game of Their Lives, about that countryís 1966 World Cup soccer team and its amazing run of success. The famously intractable government was pleased enough with the result to let him back in for a second film. A State of Mind is that movie, and it opens at the Modern Art Museum this weekend before even the Dallas crowds get a look at it.

The film follows two girls, 13-year-old Pak Hyon-sun and 11-year-old Kim Song-yun, as they prepare to perform gymnastics routines in the Mass Games, a gigantic pageant performed every year in the North Korean capital to glorify the regime of Kim Jong-il. The girls come from different families but live in remarkably similar circumstances, in tiny apartments equipped with a state-provided, propaganda-spouting radio that cannot be turned off. Without making overt political commentary, Gordon captures life inside this insular nation whose surreal qualities stem directly from its paranoid dictator. Itís a country ruled by groupthink ó like everyone else interviewed, the girls reflexively praise the Dear Leader for everything good in their country and blame America for everything bad. Despite this, they come off as surprisingly typical pre-teen girls as they maintain their lives in a society that keeps itself poorly understood. Footage of the Mass Games ó extravaganzas that make the Nazisí Nuremberg rallies look like dog-and-pony shows ó is reason enough to see the movie, but the focus on two tiny dots in that pageant give the film its human touch.

A State of Mind runs Fri-Sun at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Tickets are $5.50-7.50. Call 817-738-9215.


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