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A modern reinterpretation of the ancient Greek tragedy about family honor and a young woman’s devotion to her departed brother

  • Michael Justin Lee
    Joan of Arc, Medea, Salomé
  • Michael Justin Lee
    Joan of Arc, Medea, Salomé
  • Michael Justin Lee
    Joan of Arc, Medea, Salomé
  • Amanda K. Morales
    Key Cast
  • Marlain Angelides
    Key Cast
    "Secretary of Defense Creon"
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Classic, Film Noir
  • Runtime:
    23 minutes 44 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    9,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Apple iTunes Films
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Video on Demand
  • Google Play Movies
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Video on Demand
  • Amazon Video
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Video on Demand
Director Biography - Michael Justin Lee

Born in Hong Kong and raised in New York City’s Chinatown, Michael Justin Lee, a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Dramatists Guild of America, is proudly a part of the new wave of Asian-American artists and filmmakers and works primarily in the genre he terms “edu-tainment.”

In 2017, he wrote, produced, and directed modernized cinematic interpretations of the Biblical story of “Salomé” and the ancient Euripidean tragedy “Medea.” In 2018, he achieved the same for the ancient Sophoclean tragedy “Antigone” and the historical story of “Joan of Arc.” All four of these are available for purchase on the three dominant Transactional Video-on-Demand platforms, Apple iTunes Films, Google Play Movies, and Amazon Video, in over 80 countries across six continents.

Previous cinematic works of his have been screened at Court Métrage Festival de Cannes and have been recipient of a Motion Picture Opportunity Fund grant from the Virginia Film Office. His comedic stage play, “Grandmothers,” was produced Off-Broadway in 2013, the same year that he was honored at the American Society of Journalists and Authors’ Outstanding Book Awards for his first book, “The Chinese Way to Wealth and Prosperity” (McGraw-Hill, 2012).

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Director Statement

In my “Antigone,” I reinterpret the ancient Greek classic by Sophocles as a modern tragedy set in Washington, DC involving the United States Secretary of Defense, while retaining the core tragedy about family honor and a young woman’s devotion to her departed brother. My motion picture goes even farther than did the acclaimed stage play reinterpretation of the story by the great French playwright Jean Anouilh in making the story relevant to modern times. I take tremendous artistic license to eliminate the Chorus and the roles of Antigone’s fiancé and future mother-in-law, Haemon and Eurydice, as I focus on the most crucial part of the narrative.

I take additional artistic license to flip the role of Creon from the King of Thebes to a female Secretary of Defense who will stop at nothing to become President of the United States someday. Contrary to the opinions of some who have watched my movie, I did NOT have a particular modern American politician in mind when writing the story. Actually, I made the role of Creon female because having eliminated Antigone’s familial relationship to King Creon, I created a new dynamic to endear Antigone to Creon, thus making Creon reluctant to take drastic action until Antigone essentially forces a severe confrontation. That dynamic is that Secretary of Defense Creon sees herself when she was a younger woman in the fearless and determined Antigone and realizes that if she had been in a similar situation when she was Antigone’s age, she might well have responded similarly.

Nevertheless, despite taking the aforementioned artistic license, I retain the fundamental thesis of the ancient story about the often conflicting demands of patriotism and duty to family. This fundamental thesis is as relevant today as it was in Sophocles’ time.