On September 9, 2003, North Korea began to celebrate the foundation of the Republic fifty-five years earlier in the customary way: for three weeks, the capital Pyongyang hosted the so-called gymnastic mass games. These perfectly directed games are the ultimate signboard of the collectivist ideal of the communist state. To the tens of thousands of young participants, they embody submission to the group; to the millions of spectators, they are a source of inspiration for collaboration.
Pak Hyon Sun (13, working class) and Kim Song Yon (11, intellectual class) prepare for the mass games with intensive group trainings. A British film crew got permission to follow the girls for months. They witness several national festivals, which invariably refer to the revolutionary fight and the glorious leaders of the country. Visits to the countryside, a war museum and holy Mount Paekdu are also scheduled. US imperialism is whole-heartedly detested, today as in the past: when there is a power failure, the Americans are to blame. The great leader, on the other hand, cannot be praised enough. Unfortunately, he does not come and watch any of the forty performances put on by the girls during the festive period.
The breathtaking A STATE OF MIND provides a fascinating glimpse of daily life in a peculiar country, where people appear to be quite normal.