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Two Korean films draw record viewers on Independence Movement Day

All News 10:39 March 02, 2016

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- Two domestic movies on the painful history of the Japanese colonial rule attracted the largest number of viewers over the March 1 Independence Movement holiday, data showed Wednesday.

"Spirits' Homecoming" about the abhorrent suffering of the Korean women who were forced into sexual enslavement by imperialist Japan during World War II drew in 421,640 viewers on 876 screens across the nation, according to the Korean Film Council.

Released on Feb. 24, the film has topped 1.7 million in attendance, accounting for 37 percent of all ticket sales on Tuesday.

Despite initial difficulties on securing distributors and theaters, the historical film has posted an increasingly robust performance with the passage of time. The film snagged 23.1 percent of all ticket sales on the day of its release, 29.6 percent on the second day, 29.7 percent on the third, 31.7 percent on the fourth and 34 percent on the fifth day.

Directed by Cho Jung-lae, the movie depicts the painful testimonies of "comfort women," who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the war. The movie took its cinematic motives from "Burning Women," a drawing by Kang Il-chul, one of the victims, created during her therapy sessions.

"Local moviegoers may have chosen to see the historical drama on the national holiday so as not to forget the suffering inflicted on the country by brutal Japanese colonial rule," a movie industry insider said.

"Dongju: The Portrait of A Poet" based on the real lives of renowned poet Yoon Dong-ju and his cousin, Korean independence activist Song Mong-gyu, during the colonial period sold 96,104 tickets the same day, the largest since it opened on Feb. 17. Directed by Lee Joon-ik of "The Throne" (2014) and "King and the Clown" (2005), the film has already met its break-even point to fully cover production cost of around 500 million won (US$405,613), with accumulated viewers reaching 752,211.

On Independence Movement Day on March 1, 1919, millions of Koreans had peaceful demonstrations nationwide, demanding independence from Japanese colonial rule. Thousands of Koreans were killed and tens of thousands were wounded when the Japanese military cracked down on the movement. Japan ruled over the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.


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