With Cannes 2014 only six weeks away , I thought I'd put together a list. I didn't realise how ridiculously…
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,…
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.
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…
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…
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…
An elderly woman (Yoon Jeong Hee), having lived an uneventful life, discovers that she has the early stages of Alzheimers. She has an unrealised ambition to be a poet and write poetry. You soon realise however that she has always had a poetical understanding of the world and she was already a poet without realising. A complicating factor in her life is obviiiously her illness, & also her feckless grandson, who may have been responsible for a young girl's death. Beautiful and understated, this is ultimately an uplifting film about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Before Poetry, all I had seen from South Korean director Lee Chang-Dong was his 2007 film Secret Sunshine. I liked Secret Sunshine quite a bit when I first saw it. Over the months since, it's slowly festered in the back of my head and has proven to be one of those films that's hard to forget. I remember being pretty responsive and involved as I watched it, but words can not express the high regard I've come to hold it in as it's continued to affect me nearly a year after first seeing it. Netflix has been highly recommending Poetry for me ever since I rated Secret Sunshine with five stars, but it's unfortunately bland poster had always turned me…
Like Secret Sunshine, Lee Chang-dong’s previous effort about a grieving widow, Poetry is a film about coping mechanisms. What is remarkable about Chang-dong as a filmmaker is the organic way in which his narratives unfold – at every step of the way they are unpredictable, and it is within the rash actions of his characters that their mental states are revealed. In Poetry, Mija’s method of coping – both in dealing with her worsening Alzheimer’s and the terrible tragedy for which her grandson is responsible – is in her passion for poetry, a means in which she can transcend that which burdens her. Just as much as this is a film about coping, it is a film about gender. None…
Jeong hie-Jun tem uma das atuações mais impressionantes que já vi num filme, fazendo o papel de Mija, que se depara, quase aos 70 anos, com dois fatos complicadores: ela descobre ter Alzheimer e seu neto participa de uma situação trágica que define a vida de uma menina da escola. Querendo frequentar aulas de poesia, ela também trabalha como doméstica e se vê às voltas com um grupo de pais tentando persuadi-la a seguir um determinado caminho. O talento do diretor Lee Chang-dong é evidente em cada sequência, mas sobretudo naquelas que dialogam diretamente com o universo poético almejado pela personagem: a chuva que cai sobre o papel em branco, por exemplo. Com uma discrição notável, o diretor trabalha com a ideia de poesia como conceito (por meio da figura do professor e seu pupilo) e sua presença efetiva no mundo. Embora com duração excessiva, talvez seu único problema, possui um dos finais mais comoventes já vistos num filme.
It's hard to think of a writer/director working today who can match Lee's depth in terms of creating a character. Between this and Secret Sunshine, he's moved close to the top of my favorite contemporary directors. I really hope he has another feature in the works.
As for this film, it goes to some genuinely unexpected places (another of Lee's gifts is managing to keep a story unpredictable) without seeming contrived. Of course, Yun deserves a huge amount of credit for breathing so much life into the character.
My only complaint with his direction is the quotidian nature of the films. They're a pretty accurate depiction of everyday Korean life but I'd really like to see some visual inventiveness in future films.
I’m just speechless over how good Poetry was. The best film I can compare it to would be Jules et Jim—it just strikes the perfect balance of visual stimulation, emotional resonance, and formal ingenuity that is just so rare.
Certified Copy had a really moving (possible) storyline, about a married couple who is slowly falling out of love, that was touching even for someone as jaded as me. And of course, it’s exceptionally interesting on the film-making side—subverting formal conventions (the characters stare straight at the camera at the exact moment the storyline shifts, they’re constantly shown in frames, etc). But… well, it’s not really using images to tell its story—it’s using words. I have the same problem with a…
I thought Poetry was going to play out like a crime mystery flick what with that intriguing opening scene. Boy, was I way off! I guess I came to expect that given the South Korean films I've seen. Poetry is unlike any other, it's a very quiet and graceful movie - stunning shots from start to finish. I'm not a huge fan of "old people" movies but Lee Chang-dong instilled Mi-ja's character with purpose and dignity. There was absolutely nothing I can complain about. Greatly concluded, there's not much to say and to put it in the simplest of terms, Poetry is a beautiful, moving movie.
I need to see this again to be able to try to put into words how great it is.
- Clouds of Sils Maria
- Goodbye to Language
- The Homesman
- I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
- Zazie dans le métro
- Allegro non troppo
- The Adventures of Prince Achmed
***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…
- Synecdoche, New York
- In the Mood for Love
- The Tree of Life
Dear Letterboxd friends,
I have been visiting this site since November 2011 and it has proven to be the richest…