They lived for football and dreamed that one day the General would shake their hands.


Hana, dul, sed ... gives us a subtle glimpse of the workings of Pyongyang society and the way ideology functions in its citizens’ professional and personal lives. It is a film about four young women, their friendship, dreams, hopes, and the passion for football they share. Being a member of the national team is not only a way to make a living but gives the players prestige, popularity, and certain privileges, like larger food rations. To Ri Jong Hi, Ra Mi Ae, Jin Pyol Hi, and Ri Hyang Ok, however, the sport means more than fame or fortune. “What is beautiful about football,” says one, “is that when you run onto the pitch, it’s like your heart opens up wide, like you could take on the world.”

As "players of the people" they lead North Korea to victory in numerous tournaments, and together they rise to rank among the top ten women’s teams in the world. But when they fail to qualify for the Olympics, it is time for them to retire from competition, and each of them starts a new life. Today the friends only see each other occasionally, but when they meet, they are as close as ever. They stroll along the city’s dark boulevards, reminiscing about their football days and talking about life without their beloved sport.

The camera follows the four protagonists during their active careers and after retirement, unobtrusively observing their everyday lives against the backdrop of bombastic monuments and solemn gestures in this communist hermit state.