A State of Mind (2004) Movie Script

North Korea is the least visited
North Korea is the least known
North Korea is the least understood...
...country inthe world.
It is home to the Mass Games...
...the largest choreographed spectacle
in the world.
I long for the day
when I perform for the General...
...so I train through the pain.
To strengthen my resolve to do well
in gymnastics and school...
...I study with a picture of the Great Leader
and the General.
In 2003, a British documentary
crew followed
two North Korean schoolgirls, as they
prepared for that year's Mass Games.
Mass Games are North Korea's
socialist realism extravaganza
and a perfect example of the
state's ideology
the subordination of the individual's desires
to the needs of the collective.
Throughout the year, North Korea was
the focus of negative world attention
as its nuclear policy was condemned worldwide.
At a time when North Korea's distrust of
the outside world was at its highest,
the film crew was granted unparalleled
co-operation from the authorities.
There were guides and interpreters
present at all times,
but they neither interfered nor sought to
censor the material.
For the first time ever, North Korea
the secret state, would reveal
itself to outsiders
A State of Mind
Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.
A harsh winter is almost at an end
but it is February and
minus eight degrees.
As there is negligible
indoor heating here
the children of Pyongyang
remain on winter holiday
Kim II Sung Stadium
But for an elite group of gymnasts
there is no time for play
only for training.
Hands up if you can do it like her
It's a club where my classmates and I...
...perform group gymnastics together
with our hearts in unison.
The Mass Games club trains daily
for a minimum of two hours.
Pak Hyon Sun
The temperature can be as low as
20 degrees centigrade...
...whilst we train at the athletic
academy for young people.
You look prettier as you smile.
Pak Hyon Sun is 13 years old. She
has been a member of the Mass Games
club for four years.
When I train, I sometimes fall
over and hurt my knees.
So it hurts in a lot of places...
...but I long for the day when I
perform for the General...
...so I train through the pain.
It's tough
Scenes of collective training can be
found all over Pyongyang.
Each Mass Games unit is striving to
attain the state's desire
to cultivate the group mentality.
Since the formation of The Democratic
People's Republic of Korea in 1948
the State has imposed an all encompassing
belief structure on the people.
The placement of Mass Games within
this structure has never been more significant.
For the participants it enforces
submission to the group
For the audience it is an inspiration to
behold the values of teamwork
and the glory of the
State and the Leader.
In the West North Korea is condemned
as a repressive and totalitarian state.
Yet here, the high level of discipline
is imposed by the perceived threat from
the outside world.
They see it as their struggle to build a
strong country under its own principles.
Everything centres around the worship
of the Great Leader, Kim II Sung
who died in 1994, and his son and
successor Kim Jong Il, the General.
Before appearing in front of the General...
...my chest and heart were trembling.
My whole body was trembling.
I was so frightened that I couldn't move
any part of my body...
...but when I thought that I would go out...
...in front of the General and do my moves...
...it seemed as if the General
was looking at me...
...and saying "Don't cry, do your best."
My heart felt happy and I broke into a smile.
For these girls, the Mass Games are an
obsession that governs their life.
Their driving force is to be good enough to
be selected for the final performance, which
will be viewed by the General.
Hyon Sun has experienced Mass Games
in the presence of the General on
three occasions.
I have never been happier than the 3 times...
...I performed in the presence of the General.
When I appeared before the General
for the third and final time...
...I kept thinking, I really mustn't
make a mistake.
At first, Mass Games was exhausting...
...so I went out everyday and played instead,
Then I'd return home in the evening...
...and tell my mother that I'd been to gym.
I got found out by my mother and teacher.
So I got a good telling off.
After that I started going to gym practice.
Yes, my friends also wanted to come out
with us and try being filmed.
Hello. This is my grandfather.
This is my Grandmother.
This is my Mother.
Today is the day when our father
the General, was born.
So our family my mother, father and
grandfather has come out...
...to the Taedong River, where we're
enjoying ourselves.
Hyon Sun's father came with us too...
...but something came up
at work so he had to go...
...but he'll join us again soon.
In Korea the family
is the strongest unit
yet nothing transcends the passion
and devotion shown for the leaders.
To celebrate February 16th, the General's
birthday, everyone in North Korea is granted
a day's holiday.
The mood around Pyongyang is relaxed.
For Hyon Sun, this is a day of rest.
Today is the happiest of
all days and festival...
...because it's the day when our General...
...to whom the whole world looks up, was born.
So the citizens of Pyongyang... the youngsters,
will go dancing tonight.
Won't you join in?
Hyon Sun's group is training for the next
Mass Games, which are due to be held in July
to commemorate the 50th anniversary of
the end of the Korean War, a war known in
the West as the Forgotten War
in North Korea as the Victorious
Fatherland Liberation War.
Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum
Grandfather, is that a fighter plane from
the U.S. Army of aggressors?
Did it drop bombs too?
No, but it dropped all kinds of insects...
...containing the virus of various plagues
before being shot down.
An estimated four million people
many of them civilians
were killed in the three year war and
to this day Korea has remained divided.
The near flattening of the north by
American bombers
has left a deep mark on North
Korean psyche.
When I was young...
...I didn't know if the U.S.
Imperialists were bad or good,
But through our war in the 1950's...
...I saw the brutal bombing of our country...
...and the atrocities suffered by our people.
I saw things being done that
no human could do.
I became more enraged
about U.S. Imperialism...
...and felt that we had to rid this land
of U.S. Imperialism completely.
Hatred of the US is immortalized
in Mass Games
and is ingrained in everyday life.
The U.S. are making life bad in our country...
...they are manoeuvring to suppress the sound
of happy laughter here.
As war looms in Iraq, America openly
talks of a war on two fronts
implying Iraq and North Korea.
Pyongyang is just over 100 miles from the
37,000 US troops based in South Korea.
Hyon Sun's daily life is disrupted by
preparations for an American attack on the city.
At home, I was having fun playing with my
mother and grandmother...
...then there would be a blackout or an
air-raid practice.
On their way down to the air-raid shelter...
...the mothers and grandmothers say:
This is all because of the Americans'.
Because we're always doing things like air
raids and blackout...
...I think, just as we're taught at school...
...we have to endlessly hate the U.S. and
fight them to the end.
The General's Family
Officially, North Korea is divided into
three classes the workers, the peasants
and the intellectuals
who are seen as equals in society.
Mum, water please.
Yes, use this cup.
Hyon Sun's family is from
the workers class.
Her father is a driver for a government
ministry, her grandfather is a
construction worker.
Mother and grandmother are housewives.
Mum, I have to pack my lunch box.
Lunch? OK, let's pack it.
Take the box out from there.
This one, here?
Housing is allocated by the State.
Pyongyang is not representative of North Korea
it is the showcase capital.
For its two million residents, it's considered
a privilege to live here.
Is, it not ready yet?
She's spooning out the rice now.
State radio is piped to
every kitchen in the block.
Listeners can turn the
volume down, but not off.
The apartment has two bedrooms
one for Hyon Sun, one for her parents.
Her Grandparents sleep on the floor
where the family is eating.
Hyon Sun's television is a gift
from the State
a reward for her performance in the
Mass Games of 2002.
There is only one channel.
It broadcasts propaganda news
films and entertainment for
five hours per day.
We have so many heroes in this country...
...it's impossible to count them.
Especially the athlete Jung Song Ok, who
glorified our country.
I want to do well in rhythmic gymnastics and
become like her.
I will definitely make it happen in the future.
We prepare Mass Games every time there's
a national holiday in our country.
So at the time of our Great Leader comrade
Kim II Sung's birthday...
and the anniversary of the founding of the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea...
...or the anniversary of the founding of the
Korean Workers' Party...
...those times.
Mass Games have been performed
in North Korea since 1946.
The next Mass Games
will be the 120th.
Kim Jong Ho
Mass Games Organiser
Mass Games consists of three elements:
Firstly, gymnastics...
...then backdrop...
...finally music.
Gymnastics is the fundamental element.
Up to 80,000 gymnasts are
used in the floor display.
The participants know that the slightest individual
mistake on their part could damage
the group's performance.
They therefore surrender to the group and
in this way the performers become
ideologically prepared, thus
becoming true Communists.
The backdrop of the Mass Games, which
details North Korea's achievements and the
country's revolutionary history
is a huge mosaic, covering a whole
side of the stadium.
The Korean's declare it to be
the biggest picture in the world
Images of Kim II Sung and Kim Jong II
must be portrayed with total devotion.
The backdrop works according to signals
from the backdrop conductor who is placed on
the opposite side of the stadium.
Up to 12,000
schoolchildren are used.
Each school practices daily until
perfection is achieved.
Performed in 2002, Arirang was the
most stunning of all Mass Games.
Almost 200 million man hours were
spent preparing and performing the show.
In all, the 90 performances over a
four-month period were viewed live by four
million people.
Workers' Siren
Song Yon, Song Yon...
...wake up and go to school.
It's high time.
Song Yon, quickly!
Hey, Song Yon! School! Time! Be quick!
Kim Song Yon
Please hurry up, you're going
to be late for school.
Kim Song Yon is eleven years old and
has performed in two Mass Games.
Her family is from the Intellectual Class.
Her father is a Physics Lecturer at
Kim II Sung University.
Her mother is a housewife.
She has two older sisters, one is
fifteen and a high school student
the eldest is 18, a high school graduate
who will shortly be joining the Army.
Song Yon's sisters have a room each
her parents sleep on the lounge floor.
Song Yon sleeps in a different sister's
room each night.
Song Yon!
Come here.
What's up?
Come here quickly!
Come quickly
Why did you eat so little?
Because I didn't want to eat...
You should eat a lot and try to
make your body strong.
You shouldn't eat little, should you?
I'll eat a lot from tomorrow.
Eat more, yes?
Have you packed my gym uniform?
I'm going.
Did you put a spoon in for my lunch?
Hyon Sun is the best gymnast for
her age and discipline.
As group leader, she is expected to
help improve the skills of others.
When I firstjoined the Mass Games club...
...and looked at the children
practicing their movements...
...I thought Song Yon's techniques
weren't so good.
So I helped her improve techniques a bit...
...and taught her movements one by one.
After that, since we lived near each other...
...we hung around together...
...and taught movements and played together.
Isn't spinning around coming at the end?
"Two turns!"
"After doing like this..."
"Two turns!"
"And After doing that?"
After doing this...
Hyon Sun performed better than me...
...and she could do more skilful moves.
So I learned them from her
and got used to those movements.
Since we both loved Mass Games
we got on well.
Since then, we have become closer.
When I come home from school...
...I have no one to play with and it's boring.
Once I went to Song Yon's house.
Her two elder sisters were there...
...and Song Yon was there too.
So we played the accordion, the guitar
and the violin together.
Afterwards, I went home and there
was no-one there,
It was really quiet.
I hate being at our house.
I wish I had lots of brothers and sisters.
When I was young, I hated life in
groups and organisations...
...so I would run away
From the time I went up to middle school...
I started going to school in the mornings...
...and to club in the afternoons.
There were many girls at the club
much older than me.
The older girls would insult us
whenever they were in charge.
They'd say we weren't good enough.
My only thoughts were to keep running away.
I developed my skills and got put
on the list of names...
...for the Mass Games event.
This time we will do 'lifting-one
leg after turning'.
You have to hold up your body strongly...
...with the strength of your other leg...
...and stretch onto tiptoes.
Arms up.
You have to keep your arms straight
But at the moment the arms of you
who play on the top all go like this.
Make this pose straight and next...
OK, next the eye-lines when
you lift your heads.
Turn around.
After you turn around, head-kicking, here.
You're not doing this pose properly.
Those who play on the top, watch
how to put your legs together.
You should put them together strongly.
The same applies when you
put them apart. This is it.
Now, say "Ya!"
Group gymnastics, is not an
exercise done by one person...
...but by a synchronised group.
Even though it's tiring...
...because you do it together
with classmates...
...group power develops and
individualism completely disappears.
There are a lot of moves
I would rather not do.
There's one where I have to throw the ball...
...and then hold it between my legs.
Look, try this one.
If you make a mistake at first, then try again.
That one doesn't really work so I often think,
It would be really good if I didn't
have to do that one.
Don't grab it by hands but when it comes
here, then put it between your legs.
Stretch out your legs and hold it.
That's right.
See if you can do it.
Don't worry about mistakes.
Try it.
Try to copy her.
Well done.
Well done, you're good at this.
Would Jong Shim come out and sing?
Hurray! Goody good!
Let's hold hands all together
and sing a song.
Leading shining North Korea to victory...
...brightening the future of communism...
...the beloved comrade Kim Jong II.
Glory, glory, Kim Jong II our
excellent Leader.
Glory, glory, Kim Jong II our
excellent Leader.
Much of April is spent preparing to
celebrate Kim II Sung's birthday.
The 2 day holiday
will begin on the 15th.
The years following Kim II Sung's death
coincided with a great degree of hardship
in North Korea
a period that has become known
as the arduous march.
When we talk of time of hardship...
...the first thing we think of is
the Arduous March.
No one will ever know the true number
of deaths from starvation during this time
and even in Pyongyang there was no
escape from the misery.
Most analysts predicted an implosion
of the country and the system.
In the West, the continued food crisis is
blamed on the State's isolation policy
and its out dated agricultural system.
In North Korea, it is seen as a period of
struggle but one the people have to accept
in order to continue the State's policy
of self-reliance and independence.
Song Yon's mother was the
first North Korean citizen
to speak to a foreigner on the record
about the arduous march.
When we say "difficult" we mean
that we had grown up...
...with the benevolence of the state...
...without worries about housing
food or clothing,
Suddenly, due to situations such as
the imperialists' economic blockades...
...abnormal climatic phenomena and the
farming going wrong...
...there were problems with food rations.
To let you know how bad we felt then...
...I only need tell you about
our eldest daughter's
birthday at the time.
On Song Mi's birthday we
had nothing but maize.
So I ground the cobs of maize and
made porridge with it.
We celebrated our eldest
daughter's birthday...
...by giving half a bowl of
porridge to the other children...
...and a whole bowl to the birthday girl.
To mark April 15th, rations are increased.
Normally, the citizens of Pyongyang
are entitled to one chicken and five
eggs per person per month.
Although the food situation has greatly
improved in Pyongyang
it is still a precarious situation for most civilians
with much of the population reliant on
foreign aid.
Malnutrition is now the biggest threat to
the next generation of North Koreans.
You can't say that our life is
abundant at the moment.
But it's considerably better than
during the Arduous March.
Moran Bong Middle School Number One
The performance is three months away and
the intensive daily training is taking its toll
on the girls.
They have overslept and
are late for roll call.
We will guard the Great Leader
General Kim Jong II...
...to the death.
We will stand together as one...
...no matter how adverse
the circumstances...
...and keep to our own style of socialism...
I now bring to an end this gathering
to give an oath of loyalty...
...to the Great Leader, General Kim Jong II.
We will start marching.
Go forward!
"Long Live Generalissimo Kim Jong II!"
Song Yon's English Lesson
Song Yon's English Teacher
Song-yeon is a good student
but not very good at studying.
She cannot spend as much time
in studying as other students
because she has to spare a big amount
of time for practicing gymnastics.
Her score at school is not one of the best
but not one of the worst, either.
Hello everybody.
Everyone of us has
something to do in the future.
Most of us will join the
Korean Peoples Army.
Let's join the campaign to acquire
the name 'Honorary Red Flag. '
Hyon Sun's Revolutionary History Lesson
How many types of greatness does
the Great Leader have?
Three: firstly?
Greatness in ideology
Greatness in leadership.
Greatness in aura.
So we recognise three aspects to the
Great Leader's greatness.
Where are the U.S. imperialist aggressors
attacking at the moment?
Looking at the state of affairs in the
world at the moment...
...it's clear that the U.S. Imperialists...
...cannot rest even for a moment from
invading other countries.
Furthermore, our revolution
is progressing...
...in such difficult circumstances today.
With the intention of getting rid of
our Korean socialism...
...the only socialism left on this Earth...
...these Americans are
manoeuvring to isolate...
...squash and suffocate our country.
What do they want to do to
socialism in the end?
They want to totally demolish it.
When we receive the Great
Leader's leadership...
...we are destined to be eternally happy.
After a two hour lunch
break it's time for training.
My legs hurt.
The schedule is intensifying
If they are to make the final performance in
the presence of The General, the group must
reach the standard required.
Previous experience of Mass Games
is no guarantee of selection.
Granddad, I'm back.
By the time Hyon Sun arrives home from
training, it's seven in the evening
six hours after school has finished.
Grandma, I'm back.
Mum, I'm back.
Home, already?
Whenever I go home my grandmother
tells me to do homework or study.
So when I come home from school...
...I stay out of grandmother's
sight and go out to play.
My grandmother is quite strict
about what I should do or not.
Because I can't get my own way
with her, I get upset.
Hey, you're making me feed you.
Of course, because she's my
Granddaughter she's quite cute...
...and I won't scold her or hit her
as I did to my own child.
But when it comes to cultivating
her group mentality...
...and strengthening her will, we are strict.
Put it on your knees.
How is a gymnast like her so weak?
I sometimes raise my voice to her...
...and I'm strict when she gets lazy.
You start dancing first and
I'll play accordingly.
My mother does everything I ask her.
She listens to everything I say.
She's closer and more affectionate
with me than with anyone else
She's like one of my classmates.
As a mother, I feel proud...
...of the way I have brought up my daughter.
Did you dance in that cardigan?
With her father, she finds
things a bit difficult.
So no matter how strictly her father...
...and her grandmother bring her up...
...as her mother I have maternal love...
...so I pamper her quite a lot.
Sometimes she lies to her father and
only tells me things in secret.
I sometimes hide things from her father...
...if I think she'll get in trouble for them.
Will you take out the soup
bowls for me?
Soup bowls?
Oh, why do we have this power cut?
Use this lighter.
We get used to it.
Even in the central district of Pyongyang
the most important area of the city
most nights are spent without electricity
at some point in the evening.
Bloody Americans!
It's all their fault.
It's Sunday, the official
day of rest in Pyongyang.
After their picnic, Song Yon and her family
plan to visit the flower exhibition,
which is devoted exclusively to two breeds
of flower the Kim II Sungia and the
Kim Jong llia.
Since Song Yon really wanted to
we went boating.
Our eldest and second daughters
said they would do it...
...but in fact when they started...
...we saw that they didn't know how to row.
Song Yon teased them from behind.
Follow us.
Whatever you say, language
and cultures are different.
I wonder what makes
people happy or angry.
These sorts of feelings, especially
the kind of international news...
...that has been showing here on TV recently.
We used to not know what this means.
But now people have got to know
that it's a symbol ofjustice.
Through this kind of process we get
to understand the world.
I want to know the current
situation in Iraq...
...because we think the situation in Iraq...
...could have a direct effect
on the situation in our
country in the future.
People are very interested
in the state of affairs in Iraq.
I'd like to know about it, but
since I've been busy recently...
...I haven't been able to give time to that.
Baghdad has fallen to the Americans
four days earlier
but there has been no official reporting
of this in the state media.
I'm a bit sad I've no son I can
send to the People's Army...
...who I can join hands with
to achieve Reunification.
Since my occupation belongs
to an intellectual class...
...since I work in science,
I like it when things are quiet.
When you come into this
house it's not like that.
Since our children are girls they talk a lot.
Mum, this has torn off during training.
While you study with your dad
I will sew it up.
Dad, my teacher told me to
make a homework book...
...so I have to use a new homework book.
I have to do this English
vocabulary and grammar.
Yes, English grammar.
Dad doesn't know English.
- Why don't we leave English and...
- Forget English.
Homework, homework, homework book...
Wow, looks pretty.
Looks exactly the same as Song Yon.
Kim Song Yon, Kim Song Mi.
This is you.
The photograph is so old...
Hey, hey, hey, when it comes to photos
the older, the better.
There's no-one good looking in your class!
Doesn't she look like an actress
the one in 'A Kind Girl'?
No, not a single bit.
I'm not sad about only having daughters.
We're bringing up our daughters well.
She's joining the People's Army...
...with her Taekwondo skill.
She's joining the army, doing her
own work- She will make me proud.
Let's say our second daughter
has a quiet personality.
She knows nothing but study.
So we're training her as a scientist.
Our last daughter...
...since she's quite artistic, does dancing.
Are you watching the children's movie?
Song Yon, homework! Homework!
The children's movie is on,
so let her do her homework after that.
You should watch it after
doing your homework.
You shouldn'tjust keep
watching films, should you?
I'll watch this first, after watching this...
Go, after studying...
When a bear eats a fish as a
crab hides its eyes...
...how does the bear eat the fish?
It means that the bear eats it quickly.
Your Excellency, this traitor
switched to our enemy.
He signed on the plot
to kill Your Excellency.
That's right.
Arrest him immediately!
I can't get caught by them here.
I should smash them up and destroy them.
He will break it with his foot as he jumps.
He is going to jail here.
Has she done them all?
Put it there and watch the movie.
What's that?
Is that art gymnastics or what?
Try more graciously.
Focus on your hands and
try like this graciously.
Your dad does it more beautifully than you.
Raise your arm like this.
Like this?
Oh, that's good.
Oi! Really...
Mansu Hill
Kim II Sung's birthday is the most important
day in the North Korean calendar.
Three years of national mourning
followed his death in 1994.
In 1997 he was declared Eternal President.
The whole country will
have a two day holiday.
For Song Yon, that means two days
off from training.
Song Yon spends April 15th with her
parents, at a co-operative farm
30 miles outside Pyongyang.
Wonha-ri Co-operative Farm
All North Koreans require a permit to travel
outside their towns of residence.
It takes the family half
a day to make the journey.
The farm is home to a friend of Song Yon's
father from their days in the Korean
People's Army.
It has been 10 years since
the veterans last met.
They already had lunch before they came.
We'll just have a drink then.
I met this man when I joined the army.
When we were in the army
he was always sleepy...
...so we used to call him 'sleepyhead'.
We were in different divisions but
we slept in the same bed.
Army life is group life and
so we slept together.
I don't sleep much in the mornings.
So I had to wake him up, but
It was a bit difficult.
I even smacked home around
the face a few times!
To commemorate Kim II Sung's birthday
there is a fete in the village.
Teams from different farm units
compete for the three prizes
their choice of pig, sheep or goat.
They wouldn't fight, would they?
I've sent both my son and
daughter to the army.
Now my life is like a honeymoon!
I want to have another child
when I see her now.
There's no guard at the
pleasant time of night!
It is here in the countryside
even just 30 miles outside Pyongyang
that the hardships of recent years
have been felt the most.
It's been stressful, to be honest.
We lost the Great Leader.
Then we had natural disasters
on top of that.
So the farming hasn't turned
out as it should.
To be honest, the U.S. Imperialists
have been blockading our economy.
Relying on self reliance...
...we did our farming by ourselves.
We've had quite a difficult existence.
Under the care of our Party and the
General we each received food...
...up until now.
Throughout their adversity, North Koreans
continued to be driven by the country's guiding
philosophy of Juche
that man is responsible
for his own destiny.
In essence, Juche preaches self reliance.
Self-reliance is, in a word...
...no matter whether or not we are
provided with assistance...
...by ourselves, with our own strength...
...even if the state can't provide something...
...we make what we don't have.
For example
agricultural tools, like hoes
if the state can't provide them...
...we have to forge them ourselves
at the blacksmiths...
...since we have to do our farming.
So if we have no petrol for an engine...
...we have to see how it works and
make it work at all costs...
...even by running it on gas.
This kind of thing is self-reliance.
Because we're former soldiers...
...there's no excuse for saying,
"we don't have this"...
...or "there isn't enough of that."
I think it's in the nature of us Koreans
to totally devote ourselves...
...completely to carrying out
whatever task we do.
There is no knowing when these
comrades will next meet.
At this time, Asia is gripped
by the SARS epidemic.
Worst affected is Beijijng, Pyongyang's main
point of contact with the outside world.
Even though North Korea is served by
just six international flights per week,
the state is alarmed.
As a result of the threat of SARS, North Korea
becomes the only country in the world
to completely seal its borders.
No-one knows when
North Korea will re-open.
North Korea is the last country to
lift SARS restrictions
even though it has had no confirmed
cases of the virus.
It opens three weeks after the outbreak
is declared over.
Are you going to gymnastic lesson now?
I've washed this.
Then I put it in the travel bag.
But then, you know
There were chocolates in the bag.
So it got a stain from chocolates.
It won't come off.
You know what? I lost my school badge.
I'll get told off by the teachers.
I lost it.
I took it off to wash my shirt.
Then it was gone, the Moran Bong
school badge.
- It must have gone into a drain.
- Maybe...
Why isn't the bus coming?
lt'd better some soon.
I've got a heat rash here
and it really hurts...
Let me have a look.
The authorities have postponed
the July Mass Games.
They will be held in September, to
commemorate 55 years of the founding
of the Republic.
For Song Yon, there has been a major
change in the dynamics of family life.
It's been one month since my eldest
sister went to join the army.
When my eldest sister went out to
the army she left her room to me
and told me to leave her Taekwondo
training clothes...
...and everything else as they were.
However she went out to
guard the General...
...so I will wait for her, even though I miss her.
But It's nice to have my own room!
The schools have broken
up for the summer
and despite the postponement there
is no respite from practice.
Every detail of the September performance
has been finalised
and now it is up to each group to
hone their moves to perfection.
Next, spring your stomach.
Next movement. Keep the line.
For the ten weeks prior to the performance
practice will be held all day
from eight in the morning until six in the
evening, with two hours break for lunch.
Sometimes Mass Games training is hard.
Other children play in the blazing Sunlight.
but we train and dedicate huge energy...
...in order to give happiness
to the dear General.
Behind your ears like this.
Now our moves have nearly been perfected.
When the dear Generalissimo
comes to watch the Mass Games...
...I will definitely perform
with perfect moves.
Pyongyang Indoor Gymnasium
With less than two months to go to the
performance the girls' practice area
is relocated
to the Pyongyang Indoor Gymnasium, where
the actual performance will be held.
All the disciplines of
Mass Games will practice here.
Each group is driven hard to ensure they
achieve the standard required.
Even experienced gymnasts like Hyon Sun
who has three Mass Games to her credit
are beginning to feel the pressure.
Since we're coming to the
time of the event...
...it's gradually getting harder.
So I've started to hate it sometimes
There is no room for sentiment.
The organisers are unhappy with
the quality of the torch girls.
Shortly after being filmed, these girls were
informed that, having failed to reach the
standard, they would be replaced by boys.
The postponement of the Mass Games
presents Hyon Sun and Song Yon with a
chance of a life-changing experience
a trip to Mount Paekdu, a 31 hour
train ride from Pyongyang.
The girls are accompanied by a revolutionary
history teacher from their school.
Our school selected a group of
excellent students who study hard...
...and took them to Mount Paekdu
I had the honour of being selected
along with Song Yon...
...and other friends, and came
to Mount Paekdu.
Mount Paekdu is considered holy to all
Koreans, both North and South
In legend, the Korean nation was born out
of Mount Paekdu's volcanic Lake Chon.
Our people all have great
respect for Mount Paekdu.
As Mount Paekdu is the place
where the beloved Great Leader...
...Kim II Sung carried out
the anti-Japanese armed struggle...
...and where the General
Kim Jong II was born.
So we Koreans all admire it as a
sacred mountain of revolution...
...and as the true home of our hearts.
Mount Paekdu, sacred mountain
of the revolution. Kim Jong II
Every North Korean is expected to make the
pilgrimage to Paekdu at some point in their lives.
Look, look at that!
Wow, It's amazing.
It would be great in winter.
I want to swim in Lake Chon.
Hey, it looks like it's frozen.
The water must be quite cool.
I was surprised when I saw Lake Chon.
I pictured Mount Paekdu only in my mind...
...as I heard the explanation
from my teacher.
However when I saw it with my own eyes...
I was more than surprised and thought,
"Wow, what a fascinating and
magnificent view it is!"
Look, look at Hyon Sun.
The moment I saw Lake Chon,
its pure and crystal clear water...
...I made up my mind.
I will live as the daughter of the
General and of Mount Paekdu.
I'm scared.
This is the second tallest
statue in our country.
Admiration to the Great Leader.
Those lectures made me think a lot.
Teacher, why don't you come in too?
When I go back home I will tell
these stories to my friends...
...so they can grow up...
...as daughters of the General
and Mount Paekdu.
Come quickly.
It's so cold!
When I go back, I will participate in
Mass Games with my friends.
When I face the difficult and hard tasks...
...during my practice for Mass Games...
...I will always discipline my mind
picturing Mount Paekdu.
Jong II Peak
The girls return to Pyongyang in
time for July 27th
Considering it is the 50th anniversary of
what is seen as a great victory over an
imperialist aggressor
Pyongyang is strangely muted.
Kim II Sung's statue is the focus of
remembrance as it was he who led
the nation through the War.
Pride of place goes to a bouquet sent
personally by his son Kim Jong II.
The city bursts into life that evening
as 30,000 adults
dance on Kim II Sung square.
Yet there seems little to celebrate.
50 years on from the war
a peace treaty has never been signed.
Korea remains divided, the North is still seen
as a pariah in the western world
and the Korean peninsula continues to live
with the threat of catastrophic war.
If war broke out in Korea, there would be
one million casualties with the first 24 hours'
Pentagon estimate 1993'
At the time of the war, there was nothing.
Everything was in ashes.
From that time onwards...
...we really started construction
with a new strong resolve.
The reason this was necessary...
...was in order to completely
transform our capital.
If you build somebody a house
they can live their life there.
As people live there, they feel their
life is more worthwhile...
...and they can work better, putting
more energy into production.
Therefore, we have to keep on
developing our construction...
...and not fall behind other countries.
I have been mobilised on construction
projects for 35 years.
It's tiring doing this kind of construction.
When you finish it, you feel pride
every time you look at it.
And you feel it was worthwhile.
So often I think, "In our lives,
we really have to build things."
We obey the slogan that "one is all
and all are one."
A team working on one project will
be of "one mind and one body."
We're making efforts to
solve every problem.
Hyon Sun's Grandfather's latest project is
North Korea's first ever officially
sanctioned market.
The market will be state owned but
some stalls will be privately run.
It is a wholly foreign concept to him.
As far as I know, I'm building
something called a market.
There's no question that it's being built...
...in order to improve people's
lives in the future.
But I don't yet know how it will be run.
We people are all curious
about such a market.
Our apartment is the best one I've built.
For a start, the interior is good.
And because everything else is good...
...the location, the quality of the
construction materials...
...the apartment we live in is a good one.
Central Pyongyang awakens to loudspeakers
playing revolutionary music.
The whole of the city, two million people, has
been mobilised for the September 9t celebrations,
which commemorate 55 years
of the founding of the republic.
The celebrations will be
of epic proportions.
On September 9th, there will be a
military parade, followed by a people's parade
both reviewed by Kim Jong II.
At night there will be dacing on Kim II Sung
square, and a youth torch light parade.
The Mass Games will take place the
following day, on September 10th.
Kim II Sung Square
An estimated one million people will take part
in the three parades of the day.
In North Korea, the parades are the ultimate
display of strength, unity, loyalty and devotion.
Although the images of the Parade will be
transmitted worldwide, the target audience
is internal.
The Parade reinforces the power
of the collective.
It is also the biggest opportunity for the
people of North Korea to see and pay homage
to their Leader.
As they march past, they cry 'Mansei'
which means "Long Live!"
At the climax of the two hour spectacle
all eyes turn to one man.
Only State officials are allowed to
film Kim Jong II
and when he comes to the balcony, security
personnel try to prevent even a snap shot.
The celebrations are far from over.
There is still a youth torchlight parade to
come and dancing on Kim II Sung Square.
And tomorrow is the first performance
of Mass Games.
Would there be an army as disciplined
as ours in any other country?
Wow, they make perfect lines.
Their legs move like machines.
They're exactly the same height.
They move like one person.
Thank you.
Let's eat dinner.
Are you hungry?
Say hello to our guests first.
I just did.
Did you say hello to them
at Hyon Sun's room?
Yes, at the door.
They saluted first so I saluted back.
Let's watch her on the TV.
Let's see if your mum looks OK on the TV.
No, in the second row here.
No, I'm in the front, here.
Yes, in the second row from the front.
I thought I was in the very front row.
After this
Oh, After this?
No wonder even arrogant Americans
tremble with fear to see this.
As long as we have the
General, we are fine.
In less than fourteen hours time, it will be
Hyon Sun's turn to perform in front
of the General.
Until now, thinking of the glorious
day of serving the General...
...I have trained hard with loyalty
and sweated devotion.
Though I was selected to perform
in the centre, I got really upset.
I kept making mistakes.
So sometimes I practised until 10pm.
Watching the parades, which are
constantly repeated on TV
are an inspiration to her and
reinforce her will.
When I think that I will perform in front
of the General tomorrow...
...my heart trembles and pounds.
I don't think I'll even get to sleep tonight.
Father, have you also participated
in this kind of thing?
Me? Well... I'm sorry to say...
...that I haven'tjoined the review
in the presence of the General.
Your dad has done Mass Games
in front of the General many times...
...when he went to the primary school.
I did many ceremonies indeed
for Mass Games.
I'm wondering whether our
father, the General...
...will actually turn up for our performance.
If he can't make it, we will be
really disappointed.
Even if he can't, he may not come
he may be busy with his business.
It will be fine if you have that in your
mind while you perform.
"So perform well."
"Can you do that?"
Yes, I can.
I really hope the General will come...
It's 7 in the morning, four hours
before the performance.
This is the biggest day of the girls' lives.
Did you put everything in?
Yes, I did. I only need my lunch.
A snack!
Take an apple.
Or do you want biscuits?
I take them all.
You greedy pig...
It's 8.30am, two and a half hours
before the performance.
Every available area of the gymnasium
outside and in, is used for last
minute preparations.
Hyon Sun and Song Yon's performance is
the eleventh chapter of a 13 part
revolutionary story.
Their chapter is entitled 'Our country
which is glorified with independence'.
Each of the 6000 performers is
synchronised to the group
each group to its chapter and each
chapter to the whole.
Everyone will act as one, an embodiment
of the Juche philosophy of self-reliance.
The performance is entitled
'Army First Korea'.
It has been six months in the
planning and will last for 45 minutes.
Kim Jong II is unable to attend.
Song-yeon, at the tender age of 11, has got
the honor of performing on the second front line.
I had been wondering
whether I could perform...
...in front of our father, the General...
...but disappointingly, he couldn't come.
However, since the General
couldn't come...
...because he was busy
working for the country...
...my friends and I all understand.
Finally when the day came and our
act was about to start...
...I was extremely nervous.
For Hyon Sun this is her proudest moment.
She will be in the centre of the front row
the pivotal figure of the act.
The honour could not be greater.
This is her chance to prove herself
to be a perfect communist.