Sea Wolf, Port O’Brien
NightlightEarly in the decade, Nightlight was Rosemary Street’s cramped, cozy hideout for the fringesnoise bands, free jazz bands, fucked-up acts that would be loath to be called either. Now, though, the stacks of books and records and the platoons of dust mites are gone, replaced by open concrete floors, a proper PA and just another square room trying to make it as a nightclub. It’s fitting, then, that Sea Wolf and Port O’Brien, on a dual bill presented by the Cat’s Cradle, should claim the club tonight: Dripped distillations of several key movements in the last decade, both bands borrow unequally from The Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Architecture in Helsinki and folks like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, arriving at a crossover-able wash of indie rock that should be served with a Frappucino. (Soy, please!) That said, the tender keen of Sea Wolf’s Alex Brown Church is enjoyable if not interesting, winding through strings and staid backing like slowly growing rivulets cutting through dry ground. With Sara Lov at 9 p.m. for $8-$10. Grayson Currin
Richard White Lecture Hall, Duke CampusAfter years of near-total media isolation, the last decade has seen a spate of films about North Korea by documentary filmmakers who can’t resist a peek under the tent of the craziest show on earth. Films like A State of Mind, about the annual “mass games” dedicated to the Beloved Leader, and Kimjongilia, in which asylum-seeking escapees in South Korea described hardship and brutality in the North, have opened a window on the lives of ordinary people in an Orwellian state.
In a more personal vein, Dear Pyongyang, by Japanese-born, ethnic Korean filmmaker Yang Yongshi, tells of the effects her father’s politics had on his family. Ethnic Koreans have suffered greatly from discrimination in chauvinist Japanese society, and they remain second-class citizens, officially classified as “foreigners” even when they’re born and raised there. Yang’s father was born in South Korea, but his ideological homeland is the North. When he sent his three teenage sons to live in Pyongyang as part of a North Korean repatriation campaign, he couldn’t have foreseen the wrenching conditions they’d live through in a devastated economy. But his daughter wants answers to hard questions about the decision to split up their family.
Yang’s film, which won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance in 2006, includes 10 years’ worth of interviews with her father and several visits to see her brothers and their families in North Korea. The free 7 p.m. screening will be followed by a Q&A with professors Nayoung Aimee Kwon of Duke and Eika Tai of N.C. State. See fvd.aas.duke.edu/screensociety. Marc Maximov