A sweet-natured grandmother fulfills her artistic destiny in Lee Chang-dong's heartbreaking Poetry
, winner of the best screenplay award at Cannes. Mija (the luminous Yun Jung-hee), looks after an elderly stroke victim to provide for her demanding grandson, Wook (Lee David), whose divorced mother lives in Pusan. When Wook and five middle-school friends contribute to the suicide of a rural classmate, their fathers pressure Mija to pay into a fund to silence the press and the victim's family. Mija’s expression is easy to read: the scheme makes her uncomfortable. In her younger days, she tells one, people said she had "a poet's vein," because she "likes flowers and says odd things," so she enrolls in a poetry class, where the instructor encourages his students to make note of the details that surround them. This is particularly difficult for Mija as she can't always remember the words for commonplace objects, which her physician ascribes to Alzheimer's disease. While Mija struggles to come up with her portion of the pay-off money, she works on a poem, attends readings, and fends off the advances of her lonely client. All the while, she retraces the steps of the 16-year-old farmer’s daughter who plunged to her death from a remote bridge. It's as if Mija were turning into a sort of metaphysical detective. She can't know exactly what the girl was feeling, but in using her imagination, while she still has access to it, Mija makes a surprising decision: it is the decision of a poet. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Mija (Yoon Jeong-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. WINNER: BEST SCREENPLAY AWARD - 2010 Cannes Film Festival.