Partly overlapping with her 2006 docu “Dear Pyongyang” but movingly focusing this time on her niece there, Japanese-born Korean Yang Yonghi’s “Sona, the Other Myself” continues the theme of a family bounced around by history and politics. Though the theme isn’t original, Yang brings a measured approach to a very personal subject that pays emotional dividends, avoiding the usual cliches in its portrait of everyday North Korean life and letting the facts speak for themselves. Educational channels are natural outlets.
Pic uses footage shot in Pyongyang for the previous film (which got her banned from visiting North Korea), plus extra material lensed in Pyongyang in 2005 and Japan during 2005-08. While recapping her family’s history — parents originally from North Korea, but their three sons sent back to Pyongyang to study and live — the film shows Yang’s niece Sona (more correctly, Seon-hwa) growing up from a bright moppet into a curious teenager. Meanwhile, in Osaka, Yang’s parents remain committed to their homeland while also hoping for a united peninsula. DV tech credits are basic but OK. Berlin fest version has much less music than that preemed at Pusan.