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Poetry

2009 Drama

A woman in the autumn of her years is prompted by art and circumstance to reexamine her life in this drama from director Lee Chang-dong. Yang Mija (Yun Jung-hee) is a charming and well-preserved woman in her mid-sixties who stays busy looking after her teenage grandson, Wook (Lee David), and helping keep house for an older gentleman friend. Yang Mija has been having trouble with her memory and has developed a new curiosity about creative self-expression, so she signs up for a class in writing poetry at a neighborhood community center, even though she's never written verse before. Mija's simple, contented existence is thrown into disarray by a pair of events -- she learns from her doctor that her memory troubles are the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, and Wook is believed to be part of a gang of thugs who severely beat and raped a girl who responded by committing suicide. As Mija faces a grim future, she's uncertain about the notion of turning her grandson in to the police or raising money for a settlement that would keep him out of prison, and suddenly the beauty of the world seems a far more elusive concept. Shi (aka Poetry) was an official selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. more..

Director: Lee Chang-dong

Starring: Yun Junghee, David Lee, Kim Hara, An Naesang

Reviews

  • The importance of seeing, seeing the world deeply, is at the heart of this quietly devastating, humanistic work from the South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong.

    Manohla Dargis - The New York Times

    19 January 2013

  • Facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, the older woman enrolls in a poetry class, desperate to find the words to describe beauty before language fails her. She does even better: She herself becomes a kind of poem about what it means to really see the world.

    Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly

    19 January 2013

  • This is a movie whose power comes from the alignment both of Mija's discovery with ours and of a tremendous writer and director with his star.

    Wesley Morris - The Boston Globe

    19 January 2013

  • A heartrending film, Lee's Poetry is indeed a work of art.

    - The San Francisco Chronicle

    19 January 2013

  • Daring in the ways only quiet, unhurried but finally haunting films have the courage to be. A character study of remarkable subtlety joined to a carefully worked-out plot that fearlessly explores big issues like beauty, truth and mortality, it marks the further emergence of Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong.

    Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

    19 January 2013

Awards

  • Achievement in Directing

    Asia Pacific Screen Awards (2010)

  • Best Director

    Asian Film Awards (2011)

  • Best Foreign Language Film

    Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (2011)

  • Chang-dong Lee

    Cannes Film Festival (2010)

  • Best Original Screenplay

    Chlotrudis Awards (2012)