Songs From the North
Directed by Soon-Mi Yoo
Interweaving footage from the director’s three visits to North Korea with songs, spectacle, popular cinema and archival footage, Songs from the North takes a different look at this enigmatic country typically seen through the distorted lens of jingoistic propaganda and derisive satire. Challenging the meaning of freedom, love, patriotism and ultimately the human condition, it tries to understand, on their own terms, the psychology and popular imaginary of the North Korean people and the political ideology of absolute love which continues to drive the nation towards its uncertain future.
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★★★★ review by katie h. on Letterboxd
the more I watch and read and learn about north korea, the more I want to learn more and tell everyone I know about it. there's such a huge need for transparency of information and it's so hard to get it, even in the media laden society of the us. with north korea being so secretive and exclusive and controversial as it is, the obligation for understanding and openness gets bigger and bigger. for me, watching these documentaries and reading books about korea (without you there is no us by suki kim, HIGHLY RECOMMEND) and researching on my own is so rewarding, but of course it comes with challenges and biases in information. for example, this film claims that the demarcation line drawn at the 38th parallel at the end of wwii was made hastily by a junior air force officer, while the book I'm currently reading about the Korean war says it was decided laboriously by two colonels.
The story and history of north and south korea is such a sad and profound one, and I urge everyone to try and get the clearest picture possible of it, without delegitimizing or trivializing the suffering of the north korean people.
★★★★ review by Jaime Grijalba on Letterboxd
Songs from the North (2014)
Incredible pastiche of films, propaganda and footage shot by the director, it manages to come to the viewer as one simple message: life in North Korea is pure fiction. They are living a fiction, they are living some sort of myth and they've decided that their reality is this facade without any meaning, reasoning or even hope for a future. Not even the director can escape that fiction, or that hope for something good to ever come there, the separation of Korea hurts in the inside of every Korean (unlike what she says, I know for a fact that every South Korean longs for reunification, even if they don't say it's a matter of importance). Should be enough to say that I was inspired to make a film.
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