Poetry (Shi) is latest film by director Chang-dong Lee who is not a stranger on pages of this website, he has brought us such marvels of film-making as, exploration of unusual and tragic love in Oasis, and equally lurid story touching on impacts of religion on persons life after suffering a deep loss in Secret Sunshine. And now he is back to tell us a story about old woman. A story that has solid 100% critic approval rating on Metacritic and Best Screenplay Award from Cannes Film Festival 2010.
Mija (Jeong-hie Yun), a woman in her 60's, living with her disobedient grandson in small town, while her daughter is away, working in big city. Life is hard, but she is getting by with help of government welfare and by part time job of taking care of semi-paralyzed elderly man, who despite his health and age, still manages to make advances to her. Despite of all of this, she still manages to store away a bits of inner happiness, and has a positive outlook on passing days. By chance, motivated by memories of her youth, she joins poetry class, run by local community center. She then takes on a task to write her first poem.
However, she is faced with crime that her grandson and his friends committed. A diary of local girl, who recently died by suicide revealed that she was repeatedly abused and raped by them for many months. Families of boys want to protect futures of their offspring's, and settle the matter with single mother of the girl financially, without the involving authorities. With all of this burden upon her, she gets more bad news after visiting her doctor. But even then, she doesn't bulge.
A poem is to be written.
This movie in a way is really similar to Mother, that was released just a year earlier. Both feature strong female leads and fantastic performances by respective actresses, and even the plot and setting share a lot of similarities, but nonetheless each of the movies stand on their own, equally similar in their excellency.
As for actress, Jeong-hie Yun, director Chang-dong Lee has stated that he wrote whole role with her in mind, she was a huge star in Korea back 1970's and this film was her first role since 1994. And what a comeback it is! It was a pleasure to watch her acting on screen, a joys and hopes of elderly woman who is facing a tragedy, being strengthened by words from within.
A visual poetry. Must see.
Blu-ray | DVD from Amazon
Blu-ray (UK) | DVD (UK) from YesAsia