North Korea Airs Western-Made Film

Believe it or not, this is huge. North Korea is a country that prides itself on its collectivistic culture. Americans and other western countries think differently: our cultures are individualistic.  North Koreans, on the other hand, think as a group. They consider that their strength. “The Mass Games,” which is sort of like the Olympics and a Broadway show mixed together, is an expression of this group mentality where something like 100,000 participants, gymnasts, dancers, athletes and students, put on this big show for the country’s leader and for the people. They practice and practice until they are moving as one big spectacle.

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To keep this sort of control over the country, they can’t exactly let the North Koreans watch whatever they want on TV. The television is tightly controlled so that no independent thinking is allowed to happen among the regular citizens. If you’ve read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World or seen Christian Bale in Equilibrium, you might get somewhat of an idea of what it’s like. Or you could just see what it’s really like and check out a documentary called A State of Mind which follows two young N. Korean gymnasts as they prepare for the mass games. It’s a really fascinating look into how their society works.

State of Mind North Korea Airs Western Made Film

In light of all this, it’s pretty mind-blowing that they would even consider allowing a Western made film to go out across the airwaves but that’s what North Korea did on December 26. This is considered to be the first time North Korea has ever aired a western-made film. Now you’re probably wondering what movie it was, knowing how closed off they are to western modes of thinking, it must’ve been something really good, right? Well, it was none other than the blockbuster Bend it Like Beckham! 

bend it like beckham movie poster 1020180783 North Korea Airs Western Made Film

This confused the hell out of me at first. Could it be that they just really like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers or Kiera Knightley? But after a bit of serious contemplation, it started to make sense. The movie is about two soccer players. Soccer is very popular in North Korea. It’s also about how dedicated these girls are to the sport, how they put this sport above pretty much all else in their lives, above friendship and even above family. Those are a lot of the same values North Koreans have about their country. Of course, the film was edited and only ran an hour long so who knows what they actually got to see. But Bend It is a sort of an East meets West type concept, about how the cultures clash but ultimately come to a mutual understanding. Considering recent events, I think this is very promising!

[Source: ABC7 News]

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