Point A to BLACKPINK: Netflix docu traces journey of Korean girl group

That the upcoming Netflix documentary BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky is loaded with old footage of the its 4 members – from their childhood to their days as young trainees – is no surprise. After all, it’s what the teasers and trailers have promised thus far. 

But for members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa, the process of shooting the documentary helped not just in remembering their journey, but in making clearer the path they want to take in the years to come. 

“We want to continue to challenge ourselves and continue to think about what kind of new aspects.... We've done that. We've thought about what kind of new things we want and show to the world,” said Jisoo, the group’s unnie (older sister), told media during a global press conference for the documentary on Tuesday, October 13. 

“Because music has now become a very extended form of art, we want to be able to provide the best of that to all of our fans and in that sense, I think the documentary, that will be one of the first steps of doing that and I think it will help us do that even more going forward,” she added. 

BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky, directed by Korean American director Caroline Suh, traces the Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa’s journeys from young girls to trainees, and eventual worldwide sensations. 

“We were interested in telling the story of how BLACKPINK came together and how the girls each had a path that led them to BLACKPINK. We wanted to tell the story from the point of view of the members, their thoughts on what that journey was like,” said Suh, who dialed in from New York during the same presser. 

With love, to the fans 

The documentary, which streams globally on October 14, will be part of a long list of Netflix’s content about global music sensations – there’s Gaga: Five Foot Two, HOMECOMING: A film by Beyoncé, and Miss Americana, to name a few.

Light Up The Sky is the first about a K-Pop group. 

Jennie said the documentary, in a way, is a “present” to their fans, affectionately called “Blink.” 

“We were able to go back to times that we even forgot ourselves and that brought back a lot of memories…. We wanted to show all the hard work manifested on the glamourous stage of BLACKPINK while also sharing the authentic, the more original moments off stage that we didn't really get to share with the fans before,” said Jennie. 

For Suh, it was their openness – particularly about their “intense” experience as trainees – that surprised her.

“They entered that process as teenagers and then, through sheer force of will, they made it through. By the time they debuted, they were totally prepared,” she said in media releases for the documentary. 

Lisa, the group’s youngest member, admitted it was awkward to be followed around by Suh’s film crew at first, and credits the director for making them feel at ease. “Later on, we forget that there was a camera and filming crew following us, and we’d get more playful,” she said. 

Rare glimpses 

Putting the 4 at ease also meant capturing on camera how BLACKPINK works on a daily basis – away from the usual glare of fame. In the film, the 4 speak in different language – English, Korean, and Thai.

Rosé said it was because they spoke in the language they were most comfortable in – and because that’s really how BLACKPINK lives its daily grind. 

“There’s a collaboration of languages. So somebody will start start speaking in English, then change into Korean. Somebody will start speaking in Thai…. That’s what happens every day among our members,” said Rosé. 

Rosé grew up in Australia, Jennie spent a big chunk of her childhood in New Zealand, Lisa was born and raised in Thailand, while Jisoo is the only member to be raised in Korea all her childhood. “We can speak in any language and we understand each other. We are the world, literally,” Rosé added, laughing. 

The documentary includes sit-down interviews with the 4, whose success, according to Suh, was “hard-won.”

“Each one of the members is very strong-willed and fierce and went after their dream, worked very hard for it,” said Suh, when asked what she learned about the group in making the film. 

2021 and beyond

The documentary’s release comes at a time when the group is on a roll. They recently collaborated with Lady Gaga for “Sour Candy” and released their first full-length album, which also includes collaborations with Selena Gomez and Cardi B.

Luckily, these were moments that were captured as Suh filmed the documentary.  “I kept on posing questions that started with, ‘Well, now that you’ve made it…,’ and all of them said, very sincerely, that they don’t feel that way,” said Suh in the production notes for the documentary. 

“They feel like they’re in the middle of it, still. They just want more and more experiences," she added. 

And even as they’re looking forward to the documentary’s release, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa are still focused on the path ahead and the goals they’ve set together. 

“In 10 years, hopefully we will still be BLACKPINK, the way we always have been. But also, I think I can imagine ourselves talking about what other things we can do together,” said Jisoo. – Rappler.com

BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky begins streaming globally via Netflix on October 14