Thursday, August 11, 2016

DONGJU: A PORTRAIT OF A POET (Directed by Li Joon-ik) ***

Why must the good die young?

In this incredibly tragic  biopic film about Yun Dong-ju (December 30, 1917 – February 16, 1945), a young man born to be a poet, we see the Japanese colonization of Korea. Dong-ju and his best friend, Song Mong-gyoo are swept up in the resistance which landed them both in prison in 1943. 

Both the poet and the fighter – two loyal leaders of their own talents end up dying from injections of seaweed into their blood.

Six months after Dong-ju died in Fukuoka Prison in Kyoto, - a hellish hole where 1800 young people were “injected” into their deaths, Japan lost the war.

The film juxtaposes the young men’s lives with their interrogation – especially that of Dong-ju. Most of this black and white movie is a dramatic recounting of their fight for freedom in different ways – one with poetic thoughts in words – the other planning armed resistance. 
 Dong-ju’s poems are sparse; ironically, they resemble Haiku – a minimalist form poetry in three lines, originating in Japan – the country Korea hated. 
This film was screened at the 2016 New York Asian Film Festival.

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