The Book of Fish

  • Director

  • Cast

    Sul Kyung-gu, Byun Yo-han, Lee Jung-eun, Min Do-hui

  • Genre

  • Release Date


  • Runtime

    120 mins

  • Cert


Exiled to Black Mountain Island for his revolutionary ideas, scholar Chung Yak-jeon (Sul Kyung-gu, a regular from the films of Lee Chang-dong) forms a close, reciprocal bond with local young fisherman Chang-dae (Byun Yo-han), with whom he collaborates on an encyclopaedic, apparently apolitical book about the island’s marine life. The interactions between these two very different men offer a dialectic about divisions (of class, gender, religion and politics) during the early nineteenth century from which modern Korea would be forged, even as the island, at first an undesirable backwater boondocks, is soon revealed, under the wise influence of its new resident, to be a social utopia, and a model mini-state.

In this mostly monochrome epic drama, Lee Joon-ik (director of Sunny, 2008; The Throne, 2015; Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet, 2016) brings a beautiful, often bawdy collision of high ideals and harsh realities.