Film notes and reviews » 2012/13 season » Poetry, May 2013

Poetry, May 2013

poetrySouth Korea 2010. Directors Lee Chang-Dong and Lee Changdong

Certificate 12

This film has been compared to the best Ozu films, which is high praise. Cherry Blossoms is also compared this way. It is the intrinsic beauty and, indeed poetry of ordinary lives which are evoked with great skill.

At its centre is a great actress Yun Jung-hie, who plays a grandmother with a troubled grandson, living in a small town in a modest apartment. She is diagnosed with the onset of Alzheimer’s, which news inspires her to join a community poetry class.

This would be enough for a beautiful film but the work develops great dramatic impact, and a more immediate tragic quality, because the grandson becomes involved in a heinous crime. The way justice works to resolve the situation is as instructive to us in the West as the funeral rites were in Departures.

The grandmother only finds the way to write poetry when she comes to terms with her conscience in the shadow of death.

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