Poetry

SYNOPSIS

Mija (veteran actress Yun Jung-hee) is a beautiful woman in her sixties who moves gracefully through life, contemplating a trivial daily routine that is ill-suited to her refined persona. With elegance and a dash of eccentricity, Mija takes care of her ungrateful grandson Wook (Lee David) and makes a living by cleaning house for an elderly man who, though paralyzed by a stroke, still responds to her charm with bouts of drug-induced arousal.

 

On a whim, Mija enrolls in a poetry class at the local cultural centre and begins a personal quest to find the perfect words to describe her feelings. However, she’s plagued by the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and struggles with new vocabulary and the challenges of the creative process. When her world is turned upside down by the discovery of a monstrous crime, it is Mija’s unique and touching poetry that allows her to defy the weight of shame and distance herself from a painful proximity to violence.

 

(Adapted from text provided by the Toronto International Film Festival)

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Stills

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ABOUT THE WRITER/DIRECTOR

Lee Chang-dong was born in Daegu, South Korea, and studied Korean literature at Kyungbuk University. He began his career as a high school teacher and novelist before cowriting and working as an assistant director on Park Swang-su’s To the Starry Island (1993) and writing Park’s A Single Spark (1995). From 2002 to 2004, he served as South Korea’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, and he currently teaches directing and screenwriting at the Korean National University of the Arts. His other feature films are Green Fish (1996), Peppermint Candy (2000), Oasis (2002) (winner of the Best Director and Best New Actress awards at the Venice International Film Festival) and Secret Sunshine (2007) (winner of the Best Actress award at the Cannes International Film Festival).


DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

These are times when poetry is dying away. Some lament such loss and others claim, “Poetry deserves to die.” Regardless, people continue to read and write poetry.

 

What does it mean then to be writing poetry when prospects of

an ongoing future seem dismal? This is a question I want to pose

to the public.

 

But in fact, it is a question I pose to myself as a filmmaker: What does it mean to be making films at times when films are dying away?


Lee Chang-dong

CAST

Yun Jung-hee – Mija
Lee David – Wook
Kim Hira – M. Kang

 

CREW

Written and Directed by Lee Chang-dong
Produced by Lee Joon-dong
Executive Produced by Youm Tae-soon & Choi Seong-min
Co-Executive Produced by Michel Saint-Jean, Jung Myung-soo,

                                            Lee Seung-ho & Lee Jang-ho
Co-Produced by Lee Dong-ha
Cinematography by Kim Hyung-seok
Editing by Kim Hyun

Production Design by Sihn Jeom-hui

REVIEWS


The New York Times

The Boston Globe

Chicago Tribune

ArtForum

Time Out (London)

 

AWARDS

• Best Screenplay

Cannes International Film Festival

• Official Selection

Telluride Film Festival

 

• Official Selection

Toronto International Film Festival

 

• Official Selection

New York Film Festival

 

 

A Kino International Release