Director Caroline Suh was ‘surprised’ at how much ‘agency’ BLACKPINK have over their careers when she got to know them for Netflix documentary Light Up The Sky.
The filmmaker spent time with the K-Pop sensations – Jennie, Rose, Lisa and Jisoo – both in 2019 and February this year, charting their rise from trainees at YG Entertainment to the superstars they are today.
Asked if she found out anything unexpected about the idols, who released a new album on October 6, she said she found them to be ‘very thoughtful’.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘I found a lot to be surprising, because I think we don’t often hear them speak at length. There might be a tendency to see them in a one-dimensional way.
‘But they’re all very thoughtful and have a lot to say, and also have a lot of agency in their own lives.
‘It’s not like they were plucked from obscurity, and then became super famous. They have been working for a very long time.’
Adding that BLACKPINK are ‘professionals’ Caroline, who has also directed Salt Fat Acid Heat, noted they are also ‘girly and young and wide eyed at the same time’.
She went on to explain that the Lovesick Girls singers’ management at YG ‘really stepped back’ and gave her complete creative control, often instructing her to ‘defer to the members’ to answer questions. The director puts it down to ‘a level of trust’ between her team and theirs.
As a Korean American, the director is enjoying seeing Korean talent become known to the rest of the world through the rise of K-Pop acts.
‘I love it. I’m super still surprised by it,’ she said.
‘I mean, when I was growing up, nobody knew where Korea was or what being Korean was. And so I think it’s incredible that people are singing in Korean and I still can’t believe it.
‘I looked at the reaction to the film on Twitter a little bit and I’ve been really happy by what I’ve seen. There’s been a lot of tears! A lot of people started crying from the opening shots so it’s very sweet.’
Speaking of emotional moments, one scene that would have stood out to many BLINKs (the name for BLACKPINK’s fanbase) was seeing Rose, who grew up in Australia, in tears recalling being away from her family when she began her career.
While Caroline describes herself as a director who doesn’t ‘look for’ shots of people crying, the scene was left in as it was ‘an essential part of the story’.
‘We were surprised that it was still so raw, that emotion from years ago, that it could still make her cry,’ she told us.
‘I think it’s important to show how challenging that time was and how she was young, making this choice and not really knowing what you’re getting into.’
Caroline confesses she isn’t aware of many other K-Pop groups and is a BLINK ‘first and foremost’. And although she doesn’t have a bias (‘I admire different things about each of them’) she does have a favourite song.
‘I like Whistle! I’m old school,’ Caroline laughed.
BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky is on Netflix now.
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