Nov 1, 2010 Update: You can watch the full version of Tiger Spirit online at NFB.
Nov 16, 2009 Update: Tiger Spirit won 2009 Gemini award (Donald Brittain award for best social/political documentary program) ***
I had a wide ranging interview with Min Sook Lee asking her about her film “Tiger Spirit“, the film making process, and asked a few interesting/fascinating follow up questions. The documentary is heart breaking and heart wrenching at places. The devastating impact of a war (over 55 years old) that divided the country and broke countless number of Korean families apart.
This is a wonderfully made and highly recommended documentary. Screening time of the film is available from 2008 Calgary International Film Festival here.
Here is the film trailer on YouTube.
Here is an excerpt of the film synopsis,
Korea is a divided nation. The psychic scar shared by millions of people, separated from their families during the Korean War in the 1950s, is symbolized by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing communist North from capitalist South. Here, along this infamous border, award-winning filmmaker Min Sook Lee sets out on a revelatory, emotion-charged journey into Korea’s broken heart, exploring the rhetoric and realism of reunification through the extraordinary stories of ordinary people.
Tiger Spirit begins in the Korean foothills, where the filmmaker joins former TV videographer Lim Sun Nam in his obsessive quest to prove tigers still live in the DMZ’s swath of wilderness. A powerful symbol of resilience in Korean mythology, the tiger once roamed the peninsula but is thought extinct in the region. Lim believes finding the tiger will reconnect Koreans to their spirit and fuel the reunification train.
But a tiger’s stripes extend beyond its fur. Inspired by her desire to understand the country she left as a child when her family moved to Canada, Lee takes us deeper than symbols, asking the crucial question—how will the two Koreas be put back together?