TIGER SPIRIT (Min Sook Lee, Canada). Some subtitles. 74 minutes. April 26 (12:45 pm), Bloor. Rating: NNN
Min Sook Lee, whose Hogtown: The Politics Of Policing took the Best Canadian Documentary prize at Hot Docs’ 2005, returns this year with a personal meditation on the separation of the two Koreas.
The first hour of Tiger Spirit is pretty wobbly, as the Toronto-raised Lee, six months pregnant, travels to Seoul in pursuit of a series of metaphors. She interviews families hoping for reunions with relatives left behind in North Korea five decades earlier – and also tags along with a wildlife researcher intent on photographing the Korean tiger, long believed to have been hunted to extinction.
None of this pans out in any meaningful way – seriously, you’ll wonder why she kept so much of it in the final cut – but at the last minute, a fortuitous opportunity gives Lee a potent emotional hook on which to hang her admittedly fuzzy thesis.
That’s worth waiting for.