Best Movies by Farr
A State of Mind Poster
Released Runtime Category
2004 94 Documentary, Foreign Language, Sports Movies
Director Language
Daniel Gordon English
Song Yun Kim, Hyon Sun Pak

A State of Mind

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What's it About

Giving us a never-before-seen glimpse of the most isolated nation in the world, this eye-opening documentary trails two young North Korean gymnasts (Song Yun Kim and Hyon Sun Pak) who are both training for the 2003 Mass Games, a large-scale Communist pep rally in the capital city of Pyongyang. Following the girls' rigorous lives at home and school, we experience their hopes and frustrations leading up to the day when they're to perform for General Kim Jong Il.

Why we love it

With "Axis of Evil" nation North Korea suffering an image problem in 2003, British filmmaker Daniel Gordon was given an unprecedented opportunity to film his two school-age subjects without chaperones or censorship. Like their peers, Kim and Pak are skilled, accomplished gymnasts—and deeply patriotic, especially in their eerily genuine reverence for Kim Jong Il. Wisely, Gordon never burdens us with his judgments; instead, we watch the girls work, see them interact, and come to our own conclusions. "Mind" is never less than fascinating, but really delivers with its jaw-dropping sequences filmed at the Mass Games — a collective spectacle fusing Busby Berkeley's Hollywood with a Hitlerian Olympic rally. 

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"