This is my personal counter-list to YouTube reviewer Chris Stuckmann's selections from his book The Film Buff's Bucket List. I…
Grandmother Mi Ja (Yoon Jeong Hee) works part-time as a caretaker, and struggles to raise a teen grandson (David Lee, Paradise Murdered) by herself. Despite her tough situation, she speaks softly, dresses fashionably, and approaches the world with child-like curiosity. Enrolling in a poetry class, she endeavors to capture life in verse form, but her simple dream of completing a poem is stalled by the early signs of Alzheimer's disease and the heavy financial and emotional burden of her grandson's shocking wrongdoing.
One of the things that intrigues me when I look at my two year old son is his slowly growing command of our language. He struggles, tries and discovers a new realm of possibilities. I feel a bit like that right now. I feel to adequately capture the beauty of this film I need to learn how to speak again. I struggle with the limitations of my vocabulary, waiting for words to come and express the resounding emotions that resonate within this film.
In essence I feel like this heartfelt story's protagonist, searching for something against all odds. There are so many layers of warmth, bitterness and sweet sadness in this film that have to be experienced to fully appreciate them.
So I'll stop my ramblings and tell you, ney, urge you to watch this.
Back in 2006-2007, I took one year of literature class. The final topic of the course was "Poetry", just before hitting the final exam. Before stepping into the subject, we were asked about our opinions on poetry. There was a heated argument between a classmate that claimed that poetry was gibberish, sentimental and pretentious garbage with no coherent or logical structure to convey authentic messages, but only random words put together so that they sound "pretty", and me. The rest of the classroom grabbed popcorn to see the word fight between us.
I remember him talking more than me. However, I was concise and expressed that poetry has the capacity to unravel the deepest emotional mysteries of the human heart,…
Poetry is a quietly affecting film of surprising power. It stars Yun Jeong-hie, who came out of retirement to play the lead role, and she delivers a quite staggering performance, imbuing her character with strength and purpose yet with a great fragility too. The foundations for the story appear deceptively simple; Mija, a 60-something woman, joins a poetry class but when instructed to write a poem by the end of the month she is struck by writer’s block. Yet this is a mere framework for the real story as Mija not only battles the possible early stages of dementia but a deep burden of guilt, grief and financial responsibility. The burden is not self-inflicted, instead thrust upon her by her…
This film was recommended to me (that's right; I'm FINALLY getting back to my recommendations list) by Adam Cook and thank you Adam for recommending me this. It is such a beautifully powerful film if I'd ever seen one. The acting is great, especially Yun Junhee in the lead. She delivers an amazing performance that is poignant, touching, and heartbreaking, much like the film itself. I don't want to say too much about this film because it is something that deserves to be experienced rather than discussed. It doesn't contain Fight Club-esque twists or anything like that, but it's a film with so much emotional depth to it that saying the smallest hint at the story could ruin that experience. It's best to go in with blind eyes. With that said, this is a beautiful, compelling, fascinating, engaging, and heartwrenching film that is hard to put in words but an amazing experience nonetheless.
South Korean cinema sure is something! My first experiences with it were in the revenge genre which they seem to have perfected. Films like Oldboy, The Man From Nowhere, and I Saw the Devil are among my favorites. It wasn't until I saw the wonderful drama Castaway on the Moon and the fun action comedy The Good, the Bad, the Weird that I realized the talent in South Korea is immense and knows no boundaries. Poetry is a poignant melodrama made with the same quality and grace I've come to expect from South Korean cinema.
Mija (Jeong-hie Yun) is a sixty something women facing a devastating medical diagnosis, and the news of a heinous family crime, when she finds strength…
The event: a girl kills herself. The reason: unknown. Another fact: for months, a groups of 6 boys were making sex with this girl. The reason: they say she liked it.
The poetry: the journey of an old woman, grandmother of one of those 6 kids, ill and working as a housemaid to make extra-money and so raise his grandson, who is trying to comprehend this whole situation at the same time she is trying to write a poem.
Chang-dong Lee not only deserves credit for the gorgeous and heavily meaningful cinematography but also for the huge quality of this story, which is one of the most originals and mature I've seen in Korean cinema even though we are all…
So much of this movie shouldn't work and yet does. The summoning of a number of hoary clichés is handled with uncommon deftness and delicacy. What initially appears to be a meandering, subtle story is revealed in the final scene to be extremely direct, linear and poignant in a way that isn't in the least bit manipulative, melodramatic, simplistic or "button-pushing".
In the vein of Romancing in Thin Air, Poetry masterfully unravels the processes of empathy, grief and catharsis in a manner that is equal parts uplifting and heartbreaking.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
An elderly Korean woman, in her mid-60s, joins a poetry class. Interesting enough to follow her dealing with the difficulties she faces. I liked the film, although the predictability of the story is the reason I’m giving it 3½ and not 4 stars.
My favorite parts of the film are the “beautiful moments” the class share with each other. (SPOILERS AHEAD) The ending is sad yet powerful. I’m still wondering what happened to the old woman. Perhaps she is ashamed she wasn’t able to raise her grandson better than she did, and let’s the mother (who arrives) take the responsibility for the boy. The poem might be the victim’s last words, yet written by the grandmother. In a way, I…
Like Secret Sunshine it kinda left me wanting more, but holy cow did that ending pack one powerful punch!
One of the best films , i saw in XXI century. Clever story, excellent script and visuality made not just for beautiful picture. Perfect Asian visuality this time helps story only when it is needed.
Poetry is a wonderful, insightful, and honest film that plays like a bittersweet indie movie but has dark undercurrents. It also shows what domestic Korean life is like - very polite and quiet. The lead actress, Jeong-hie Yun, has made 189 movies, but her last one was in 1994, so Poetry is a comeback.
A woman in her mid-late sixties goes to the doctor, concerned about a tingling in her arm, but the doctor is more concerned about the way she forgets words and refers her on to the hospital: we probably suspect she is showing the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and so it is later verified. I presumed that the film, in its modest realism, was going to be a case study of her decline, but it’s not: more is going on. She takes up a poetry class, but then spends her time looking at objects to try and gain inspiration and worrying that she can’t write a poem. She lives her life always the subject of pressures. (There is a searching…
Quiet and calm and brilliant lead character. One of those older women who are tough as nails and do their own thing despite of what others think. Really enjoyable. I was just annoyed that it was not really made clear what happened to the boy in the end... or the lady...
Slowly but surely Lee is becoming my favorite Korean director. His MO so far seems clear and strange in a way that could be flat, typical Korean extreme cinema. He takes a genre, murder mystery here and romance in Oasis, and shifts the experience just by having a character be physically or mentally ill. That could be very trite, but Lee does something, I'm not entirely sure what, which makes these films seem like great observance of the core relationships. I wouldn't call them a character study, there's nothing psychological about Oasis for example, so the fullness of character in relation to these seeming ticks doesn't make sense as a typical usage. Maybe that atypical use is what makes the…
A very mesmerizing and evocative film from Lee Chang-dong that explores an elderly woman's encounter with death and losing herself to Alzheimer's as she turns to poetry for solace as it features an incredible performance from Yoon Jeong-hee.
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…