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DONGJU; THE PORTRAIT OF A POET Puts Pen to Paper for US Release

Apr 06, 2016
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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Indie Colonial Era Biopic Seeks New Audiences
On the heels of its successful release in Korea, LEE Joon-ik’s DONGJU; The Portrait of A Poet opened on April 1st in five locations in the United States. Cities with DONGJU showtimes include Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Dallas.
Based on the life of poet YOON Dong-ju, who wrote during the Japanese colonization of Korea (1910-45), and his cousin SONG Mong-kyu, an independence fighter, DONGJU has attracted a sturdy 1.16 million viewers (USD 7.6 million) in Korea, despite only opening with a limited release. Still in theatres, the film is currently playing in select locations with English subtitles, a rarity for an independent local release in Korea. 
The film, which was shot in black and white, is the first low-budget project of blockbuster filmmaker LEE Joon-ik, whose hits include the period dramas King And The Clown (2005) and last year’s The Throne. The film was produced for around KRW 500 million (USD 433,000).

Featuring as the young poet is rising star KANG Ha-neul, who also appeared in youth comedy Twenty and music biopic C’est Si bon in 2015, while actor PARK Jung-min, following roles in Tinker Ticker (2014) and Office (2015), took on the role of his freedom fighter friend.
The film was written and produced by noted indie filmmaker SHIN Yeon-shick, whose credits include The Russian Novel (2013), Rough Play (2013) and Jeonju Cinema Project The Avian Kind (2015).
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