In his 92-minute nonfiction saga “The Girl From the South,” it takes filmmaker Jorge Luis Garcia 86 minutes to finally get his central subject, South Korean political activist Lim Sukyung, to sit down for a proper interview. While such a gambit may be amusing in a deliberately absurdist documentary, Garcia’s quest to comprehend Lim’s complex efforts to make peace with North Korea simply results in a frustrating and finally annoying experience. Tube sales look fair.Notorious at home for illegally entering North Korea unannounced to campaign in 1989 for North-South reconciliation, Lim was first spotted by Garcia when the filmmaker was a member of the Argentine delegation to an international socialist students confab in Pyongyang the same year. His aged video recordings of this bygone moment at the end of the communist era is by far the pic’s highlight, while his present-day traipsing around, attempting to track down and get to know the difficult Lim, quickly becomes uninteresting. Any advantage Garcia may have had in interjecting an outsider’s perspective is unfortunately thwarted by self-centered indulgence.
Documentary - Argentina
A Taskovsky Films presentation. (International sales: Taskovsky Films, Buenos Aires.) Produced by Jose Luis Garcia. Executive producer, Gabriel Kameniecki. Directed by Jorge Luis Garcia. Written by Garcia, Jorge Goldenberg.
Camera (color, HD), Garcia; editors, Alejandra Almiron, Alejandro Carrillo Penovi, Garcia; music, Axel Krygier; sound (stereo), Kim Yul-su; sound designer, Martin Grignaschi; re-recording mixer, Grignaschi; associate producers, Roberto Bonomo, Geo Orellana, Luciano Quilici. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (TIFF Docs), Sept. 15, 2012. (Also in Buenos Aires Film Festival.) Running time: 92 MIN.
Lim Sukyung, Alejandro Kim, Won Dong-Yeon, Kim Jung-Eun, Lim Pan-Ho, Woo Sung-Ran, Yoon Won-Il, Park Jong-Kun. Narrator: Jorge Luis Garcia. (Korean, Spanish, English dialogue)