In August of 2016, powerhouse entertainment conglomerate YG Entertainment did something it had not done in seven years: launch an all-girl K-pop group from its stacked assortment of multi-talented “trainees,” sprung from its very own homegrown talent farm and unleashed on the world. That’s where Caroline Suh’s surprising and personal documentary “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky” starts, as a crowded room full of bloggers and journalists clack away at their laptops while a nervous foursome prepares to meet the world. While the years leading up to that initial reveal of soon-to-be-megastars Blackpink could easily shape its own documentary — Suh’s doc does touch on some of its biographical high points — “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky” is more fixed on getting to know that nervous foursome on their own terms.
The result is an intimate look at one of the most popular musical acts in the world, the kind that have so many accolades on their dedicated Wikipedia “awards and nominations page” that a copious amount of scrolling is required to reach the bottom. Little of it will surprise the group’s long-time fans (or, as popular parlance now deems them, “stans”) and it will likely spark interested newbies to seek out further information, but “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky” does a stellar job of introducing Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa as individuals. The K-pop phenomenon may still feel new to some consumers (it’s not), but if nothing else, Suh’s film handily does away with the sense that these superstars are simply part of a pre-packaged cultural machine.