I’ve recently been given access to a certain kind and obliging roommate’s netflix account. Said kind and obliging roommate also tends to force me to watch documentaries on Asia. The coersion normally goes something like this:
"Yo, you should watch this documentary. It’s on Netflix."
”What is it about?”
"North Korean gymnasts who live and die for Kim Jong Il and the Mass Games."
”DONE. I’ll start it now.”
So it is thanks to her that we watched “A State of Mind.” Now I don’t care if you hate documentaries, North Korea, communist regimes, gymnasts or kimchi - this is incredible. I have no idea how this British documentary team got permission to produce it, or access to the schools and other locations they shot in, but well done them. One more reason to love BBC.
Gymnastics aside, my pigeonholed capitalist marketer’s brain could not fathom how the daily lives of these North Korean citizens worked. A completely centrally planned economy. The consumer doesn’t really exist? What does that even MEAN?
Right right, I technically get what it means, any liberal arts student worth their degree has hashed it out in some sort of seminar at least once. But really, watch this. Watch this NOW. Or at least make it past the 1:30 mark in the trailer.
And give thanks that all of our homes don’t have giant radios that cannot be turned off constantly broadcasting propaganda news into our kitchens. And that the Stop&Shop down the street gives us more than one chicken and 5 eggs per month. AND that we do not spend 6 hours a day training on concrete for a gymnastics spectacle for the General. Actually, I think I did that in undergrad. It was called Greek Week Dance, and we will not be discussing it here today.