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9 Muses of Star Empire

Dir. Hark-Joon Lee | 2012 | 82 min

The making of a K-pop sensation is a lot harder than you think.

After spending four years embedded with North Korean defectors struggling to escape to freedom, journalist and filmmaker Hark-Joon Lee turned to a culture that, if not up to Pyongyang standards for dehumanization, is no slouch in controlling its minions: K-pop. Lee gained extraordinary access to the inner workings of preeminent Seoul entertainment agency Star Empire as it groomed its next big act, 9 Muses, documenting the physically and psychologically punishing process by which a Korean pop sensation is made. Capturing all the onstage moves and backstage drama, Lee tells a tale of injuries, rivalries, and betrayals as nine girls pursue their dream of stardom and reconsider the price of fame. It's a story of corporate ruthlessness, abusive managers, and persevering through illness and tears - because if you don't, there's always another girl waiting to take your place.

9 Muses
South Korea
music industry