South Korean production Hwang Jin Yi, based on a North Korean novel dramatising the life of Korea 's most famous courtesan, has been granted permission to shoot in North Korea 's Diamond Mountains for a week starting Jan 28.

Directed by Chang Yoon-hyun (Tell Me Something), the film portrays the famous Joseon Dynasty gisaeng (aka geisha from the Japanese) whose poetry endures in Korean literature to this day.

Based on a novel of the same title by North Korean writer Hong Suk-joong, the film takes place in North Korea 's Kaesong and Daedong River area where Hwang Jin Yi spent most of her time.

Co-producers Cine2000 and Siz Entertainment were in talks with North Korean authorities from the time they negotiated rights to the novel, but failed to gain access for location shooting in those two areas.

Talks stalled in the summer with the North Korean nuclear controversy, but Hyundai Asan Corp, which has exclusive tourism rights in the Diamond Mountains, stepped in and mediated.

The legendary beauty is played by Song Hae-gyo (My Girl And I), while Yoo Ji-tae (Old Boy) plays the manservant Nom Yi with whom she has a love affair.

Hwang Jin Yi started shooting last August. With 80% of principal photography in the can, the North Korean shoot will complete the production.

The $7.2m production is backed by CJ Entertainment which has distribution and sales rights.

Hwang Jin Yi will be the second South Korean production ever to shoot in the Diamond Mountains. The first was the comedy A Bold Family in 2005, which took more than 170 cast and crew there for five days and six nights with the active cooperation of the North Korean authorities.