Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fascinating to watch

Because my book is set in ancient Korea, it roams across the entire peninsula, from the very tip of South Korea and up and beyond modern day North Korea into what is now considered China, was once called Manchuria, and was in ancient times part of the Korean kingdom of Koguryo. The political dispute between China and the two Koreas over the ancient treasures and historic sites of Koguryo have resulted in vicious academic and journalistic backbiting over whether or not Koguryo is considered Chinese or Korean. Historically, Koguryo has always been recognized as one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. But I don't want to get into the middle of this contentious political disagreement.

But I bring this up because the kingdom of Koguryo, which I refer to as Guru, is a major part of my book. And that leads me to my interest in North Korea. While I abhore the North Korean government and the "military first" ideology that harms its citizens, I am interested in the culture and the people who must suffer under such a harsh one-party regime. So I found this fascinating video highlighting preparations for the 2003 Pyongyang Mass Games, the world's largest choreographed gymnastics performance. These are clips from A State of Mind, which is a 2004 documentary film by Daniel Gordon which follows two North Korean child gymnasts and their families for over eight months during training for the mass games. The UK-based Dance band Faithless used clips from the documentary for this video to their single "I Want More." I hope you find it as fascinating as I did.

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