TEST YOURSELF: Get some K-pop

Blackpink documentary director talks about the K-pop idols

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Read the following story by Tatat Bunnag from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

South Korean pop sensation Blackpink star in a new documentary, Blackpink: Light Up The Sky, streaming now on Netflix

Light Up The Sky reveals the inside story of each Blackpink member -- Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa -- and follows the girls on their journey from their early days in training at YG Entertainment to becoming world famous, including their performance at Coachella 2019. Along the way, the documentary features exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage from their trainee years.

Released in 190 countries, the film is the latest Netflix original music documentary to feature female acts following Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.

"The film has a simple story -- it's about young people realising their dreams through hard work and some heartache. I think that a story in which people are totally devoted and push through hard times is always inspiring," said director Caroline Suh.

Based in New York, Suh has over 20 years of experience directing and producing documentaries on a wide range of topics, cultures and subjects. However, despite her long career, this was the first time she directed a music documentary. Prior to filming and starting the project, she had little to no knowledge about Blackpink and the K-pop industry.

"Well, I'm Korean American, so I tend to be supportive of all things Korean [laughs]. I knew who Blackpink were but I knew very little about them or K-pop in general. My one link to this industry was my nephew who at that time was a high school student and he knew everything there is to know about K-pop. So he gave me a great lesson in K-pop history and from there I dove in and did a lot of research," she said.

Suh and her crew took a couple of trips to Korea to meet the group. She flew once in the autumn of 2019 and again just as coronavirus was starting to take hold in early 2020. During her time there, Suh had the opportunity to spend some time with and film each member of Blackpink.

In the process, she also got to see some of their promotional work at appearances, gigs, as well as the opportunity to film them in their studio. In the documentary, viewers get to see the group's recording process of their new album and see how the girls work with YG Entertainment's top producer Teddy Park, the mastermind behind most of Blackpink's biggest hits.

"Teddy is incredibly well-spoken and all the girls talk about him fondly. After some time, I could understand why since he really is a great friend to them," she said.

Meanwhile, the interview sessions show each of Blackpink's four members -- Jisoo, the smart and calm big sister of the group; Jennie, known as the K-pop princess whose fierce onstage persona contrasts with her shy nature; Rosé, the New Zealand-born member; and Lisa, the group's only Thai member.

The documentary depicts the group's successful completion of the In Your Area World Tour, which took place between 2019 and early 2020 in North America, Europe, Oceania and Asia and features 32 shows in 23 cities. Highlights of the film are their concert in Thailand and their historic Coachella 2019 performance where the group became the first-ever K-pop group to take the stage.

Section 1: Write the correct answer in the space provided.
1. Which company did Blackpink train with? …………….
2. Who directed the film? …………….
3. Suh knew a lot about K-pop before she started the film. True or false? …………….
4. What nationality is Suh? …………….
5. How many times did Suh visit Korea? …………..
6. Which member’s personality is different onstage? …………….
7. Lisa is the only member born outside Korea. True or false? …………….
8. What was the group’s 2019 tour called? …………….

Section 2: Write the noun form of the following words in the space provided.
9. devoted ……… 10. directed ……… 11. supportive ………. 12. successful ………. 13. historic ……….   
Section 3: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.
"Thailand was where they …14… their world tour and also where they ended it. Jennie says that Thailand makes her very …15… . I think that is because they're …16… to Lisa and her family and they feel Thailand is very special to them. We also wanted to show how incredible it was for Lisa to go back and have all of …17… fans welcoming her. It was …18… of overwhelming. So, I hope Thai fans …19… this film."

14. A. start      __B. began        __C. begin
15. A. emotions         __B. emotion         __C. emotional
16. A. close    __B. closed       __C. closest
17. A. this    __B. these        __C. them
18. A. kind        __B. most        __C. more
19. A. enjoys        __B. enjoy        __C. enjoyed

Section 4: Find words that match the following definitions.
20. a film which shows real events or people ……………
21. making you feel strongly interested and enthusiastic ……………
22. the person who creates and controls a project ……………
23. having a lot of energy and strong feeling …………
24. an area including many Pacific islands and Australasia ……………

Answers: 1. YG Entertainment. 2. Caroline Suh. 3. false. 4. Korean American. 5. two. 6. Jennie. 7. false. 8. In Your Area. 9. devotion. 10. director/direction. 11. support/supporter. 12. success. 13. history.   
14. b. 15. c. 16. a. 17. b. 18. a. 19. b.
20. documentary. 21. inspiring. 22. mastermind. 23. fierce. 24. Oceania.
SCORE 21-24: Excellent! 17-20: Good.   13-16: Fair.   12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!

About the author

Writer: Gary Boyle
Position: Writer