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||IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 from 393 votes
||Release: 13 November 2008 (South Korea) /
||Director: Yun-su Chong,
||Stars: Dae-Sung Choi, Gyu-ri Kim, Ho-min Yeo, Ja-Hyeon Chu, Man-suk Oh, Mi-ran Ra, Nam-gil Kim, Seok Lee, Yeong-ho Joo, Yeong-ho Kim
||Synopsis: Born to a family of established court painters, a woman is forced to carry on her family name and take over her brother's life after he commits suicide.
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Watch Mi-in-do - Alternative Versions.
A lavish royal court spectacle, a compelling drama of love, strife, and
betrayal, the new Korean film "Portrait of a Beauty" has it all:
history, art, romance, adventure. The San Francisco premiere is today
(3/20) in the 4-Star Theater on Clement.
As most recent works from the burgeoning Korean film industry,
"Portrait" is expertly directed (by Yun-su Jeon, also responsible for
the screenplay), and beautifully photographed.
Taking place in the 18th century, the story begins in the family of
famous court painters, where the young son is trained to take his place
among the privileged royal artists - but he lacks talent.
His sister, at age 7, is already so accomplished that she paints for
him secretly. When the subterfuge is discovered within the family, the
boy commits suicide, and the girl is forced to take his name
(Yoon-bok), and live as a man. Rather than telling the plot of the
movie, the story described so far is just the very beginning, the basis
for a lengthy, rich adventure to unfold.
The hero/heroine is played by the unassuming but outstanding actress
Min-sun Kim. Her character, pretending to be a man, rises to fame and
fortune (as we are treated to picturesque scenes of court and town
life), and then creates a new school of painting, focusing on female
If you think the "establishment" of "Die Meistersinger" are upset about
a bold, unconventional newcomer singer, you should see what the
constellation of court painters does and, more, tries to do to
Yoon-bok. Apparently, Korean artists in the 1700's were quite physical
in their discussions of the finer points of brush strokes.
And yet, the artistic-aesthetic clash is just a small portion of the
story. Yoon-bok falls in love with a charming outlaw (Nam-gil Kim, in a
fabulously athletic performance), so there is the problem of the
supposedly male painter letting her intended lover into her secret -
but without being exposed to the rest of the world.
That exposure of gender complicates things a great deal when Yoon-bok's
elderly teacher realizes that his student is a beautiful young woman
when not disguised, and then - don't give up yet! - a royal courtesan
falls in love with Yoon-bok, the man.
If this sounds like a potboiler, yes, it is that, but if you expect a
predictable Hollywood soap knockoff - NO, it is not that at all.
Writing, direction, acting combine to keep "Portrait of a Beauty" on
the right side of the track, not giving in to easy and cheap solutions.
Apparently, aspects of the film are based on history, but my admiration
for Korean films doesn't give me sufficient knowledge on the subject.
True story or not, this film is real enough in creating a first-class
Tags for Mi-in-do Full Movie
, Gyu-ri Kim
, Ho-min Yeo
, Ja-Hyeon Chu
, Man-suk Oh
, Mi-ran Ra
, Nam-gil Kim
, Seok Lee
, Yeong-ho Joo
, Yeong-ho Kim
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