REVIEW: Aim High in Creation

Words by Kristen Calandra

The spirited instruction “Aim High in Creation!” from the late Kim Jong-Il’s 1987 manifesto, The Cinema and Directing, doubles as the title of this playful documentary from writer/director Anna Broinowski. Aim High in Creation! is an experimental project following Broinowski and her team of six actors as they collaborate with big names from the North Korean film industry. Their motive: to make a propaganda film against the drilling of coal seam gas (CSG).

What initially seems like a straightforward documentary about CSG turns into a fascinating comment on ideology. But the intention of Aim High isn’t always clear. Maybe this is because it is almost a kind of a propaganda film in itself. At times it presents itself as a sincere indictment of the harmful effects of CSG, but the overall tongue-in-cheek tone somewhat undermines the sincerity of this. As a result, a serious and emotional interview with a farmer comes as a bit of a surprise, and only serves to heighten the initial uncertainty about where exactly Broinowski is going with Aim High.

By its conclusion, Broinowski’s point becomes a little clearer: that less of a barrier exists between even the most politically opposed of cultures (in this case the capitalist-leaning Australia and the socialist-leaning North Korea). Aim High in Creation! is about the universality of protest, that “people power” is not just a by-product of socialism, it is “the one weapon we share.” The film is an original effort that proves to be engaging, even if the distinction between sincerity and satire is sometimes blurred.

Aim High In Creation is screening exclusively at Cinema Nova from 27 March