The Flower Girl (1972) – MIFF Film Review


North Korea 121 mins

Another of the films as part of the look into North Korea, The Flower Girl is set during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Koppun is a young girl whose father is dead, her brother is in jail and she sells flowers to support her sick mother and young sister. Their community is being destroyed by the Japanese overlords and Koppun dreams of her brother returning with the Revolutionary Army to set them free.

The film is like a fairy tale. Perhaps it is because it was adapted from an opera. An opera written by the great leader, Kim Il-sung, no less. It is clearly anti-Japanese, pro-Revolutionary Army propaganda, and should not be mistaken for anything less than this, and even for this very reason it is worth watching.

The Flower Girl screens at ACMI on Saturday, August 10 at 3:45pm. To book tickets, visit

Centre Forward (1978) – MIFF Film Review


North Korea 77 mins

I was very excited to see that MIFF this year is featuring a selection of films from North Korea. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to get a glimpse into the country that is more commonly known for its dictatorship and oppression. What was I expecting? Propaganda of some kind, although I was unsure on how obvious it would be.

In Centre Forward, the propaganda was pretty direct. In Son is a soccer player having his first game for the season, and the team does not play well. As a new player, he feels it is his fault, and wants to give up. His sister, is a dancer on the television, and when he sees how hard she trains, he returns to the team and encourages them to train harder together to ensure that they, as a team, are victorious. But he has to overcome old attitudes, including a reluctant coach and the star player whose fame has led him to laziness.

The story itself was very straightforward and simple, and there is no doubting the message that is being sent to the public that watch this film. It was made in the late 1970s, but the black and white format gives it a much older feel.

Centre Forward screens at ACMI on Saturday, August 10 at 1:45pm. To book tickets, visit