Soon-Mi Yoo • U.S., South Korea, Portugal • 2014 • A unique lens on North Korea.
A South Korean filmmaker travels to the North on three separate occasions. Chaperoned by an official guide, she is unable to film freely. Nonetheless she encounters humanity at every turn—old men milling about pool halls, schoolchildren at amusement parks. A portrait begins to form in place of an absence, shining light on a sheltered nation that has become lost to the world.
Interweaving documentary footage with state songs, spectacle, popular cinema and archival material, Songs from the North offers an unique look at the enigma of North Korea. Soon-Mi Yoo's first documentary premiered at Locarno, where it won Best First Feature; BAFICI - Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, where it won a Special Jury Prize; and Doclisboa, where it won Best First Feature-Length Film.