The Price Of Fame
BNK48: Girls Don’t Cry is a fascinating and eye-opening look at the hierarchical world of Thai idol girl group, BNK48. From social media follower numbers through to grueling 8 hour singing and dancing sessions, BNK48 is a raw and concerning look at the pressure put on these girls in the group to become the best pop stars. With a minimalist style and an important underlying theme, BNK48 is a unique and interesting Thai documentary.
Beginning with the early days of auditioning, BNK48 opens with a look at the hopeful candidates desperate to make it into a Thai idol girl group called BNK48. Based on a concept popularized in Japan, what follows is a 90 minute documentary depicting the trials and tribulations this group had to endure behind the scenes to make it into the starting line-up. It’s pretty brutal stuff too and seeing the girls nonchalantly discussing how they competed with each other or were told their online profile is more important than talent is partly what makes this documentary so powerful.
Away from the glitzy glamour and mass stage production seen with these massive bands on stage, BNK48 is deliberately minimalistic by comparison. Most of the documentary relies heavily on face to face interviews with different girls from the group in front of a static camera. The neutral background and colours the girls wear work surprisingly well here too, with archival footage, social media videos and performance shots used to break up the monotony of predominantly watching interviews. The result is something that really helps shed light on an important and concerning topic about the price of fame and how some promoters and managers exploit this for their own means.
Having never heard of this group before, I can imagine those in-tune with their Thai music knowledge will certainly get more out of this one. Despite this, BNK48 has enough going for it and a strong underlying message to make it well worth checking out. The aesthetic and general design of the documentary is simplistic and works really well here but ultimately the documentary poses one question, echoing a very real problem in our society today. In a bid to be the best and most famous celebrity out there, how far are you willing to go to achieve that?
Verdict - 7/10