Saturday, June 10, 2006

Mass Games

I came across this article on, a site recommended to be by another GW history professor, Prof. D. Yang.

Anyhow, it talks about a British filmmaker who is making a documentary about two girls' preparation for the Mass Games. The Mass Games are, apparently, a festival composed of acts like the ones we saw in the music video that Prof. Larsen showed us. These two girls are some of the best gymnasts in North Korea, and are finishing up preparations for the Games at the end of the summer.

It's interesting how the filmmaker, Daniel Gordon, made another film about North Korea, The Game of Their Lives, which is about the North Korean soccer team when it knocked off Italy in the 1960s (more information on this here).

Gordon claims that his access was more or less unfettered by the authorities, especially in light of his previous film, which is a source of pride for North Koreans. I found this in stark contrast to what Martin said about his visit there... has North Korea "loosened up" that much since then? I suppose it is plausible, but I still have my doubts. There were, however, "guides and translators" with the film crew the whole time. I guess that hasn't changed.

Also interesting is that this further illustrates the point Prof. Larsen was making about the collectivist nature of performance in North Korea. Heck, they're called the Mass Games. Where the U.S. has its Miss America pageants and such, these 11- and 13-year-old girls are living their dream of being part of the elite group, not individual glory.

1 comment:

Ji-young Park said...

Apparently, the images of mass games in the music video we watched in class were taken from the film 'A State of Mind'.
I also watched the 'The Game of Their Lives' when it aired in England. I remember watching it with fascination as it was my first time watching such film on North Korea. They said, it took 4 years or so just to get the permission from the DPRK government to film the documentary, who only allowed them to do so on the basis that they would run the story of 1966 World Cup, when North Korean team knocked out Italy from the game.