A Kingdom of Cultural Expression
Famed for their dedication and excellence in sporting events, North Korea focuses on a blend of traditional and western sports.
‘North Korea is the least visited, least known, least understood country in the world. It is home to Mass Games, the largest choreographed spectacle in the world’ ~
A State of Mind is a documentary directed by Daniel Gordon that follows two North Korean child gymnasts and their families for over eight months as they train for the 2003 Pyongyang Mass Games.
Held in the Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, the two-month gymnastics and artistic festival, Arirang celebrates the birthday of ‘Eternal President of the Republic’ Kim Il-sung (April 15). Thousands of North Koreans perform highly choreographed dances, especially traditional dances and gymnastics, often engaging in simultaneous rhythms of movement. The performers sing and chant their loyalties to Kim il-sung, the Korean Workers’ Party, and to the principle of Juche.
Famed for their dedication and excellence in sporting events, the country focuses on a blend of traditional and western sports. Though the Arirang is their major national athletic event, North Koreans have also created a mark in the football field.
The Game of Their Lives (2002), by Daniel Gordon, is about the seven surviving members of the North Korean national football team who participated in the Football World Cup 1966 Its victory over the Italian team propelled the North Korean team into the quarterfinal: it was the first time an Asian squad had advanced so far in a World Cup.
During the 1980s and the early 1990s, the North Korean media gave Kim Jong-il credit for working ceaselessly to make the country a ‘kingdom of art’ where a cultural renaissance unmatched in other countries was taking place. Indeed, the younger Kim is personally responsible for their cultural policy.
Visit www.stevegong.photo.com for a photographers perspective of North Korea.