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Poetry


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Product Details

  • Actors: Yoon Jeong-hee, Lee David
  • Directors: Lee Chang Dong
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: KINO INTERNATIONAL
  • DVD Release Date: August 23, 2011
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0053TWVUU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,491 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Poetry" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
I am especially impressed by the style of this movie.
L. Wang
The story can really make you contemplate about life, and several scenes, including the ending, can be interpreted differently.
Jonathan
The film pits poetry against the ugliness,brutality,pain and anguish of modern life.
technoguy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Sue on January 31, 2012
Format: DVD
Poetry is probably one of the most thoughtful, thought-provoking, and touching films I have ever seen. The story centers around a 60-something grandmother who is showing early signs of Alzheimer's and her desire to learn to write poetry. Intertwined with this is a suicide of a middle-school girl, a horrific discovery that involves the grandmother's ungrateful (but realistically portrayed) grandson with whom she lives, and subsequent attempts by other men involved to cover up the truth. As she tries to protect her undeserving grandson, she also happens to be the only person who feels the burden of the crime committed. The ending is just so wistful and perfectly executed, with the recital of the one poem that she writes.

I have watched and read a few Korean films and books whose central character is an older female (notably, "Mother," a film directed by Joon-ho Bong, and the book "Please Look After Mom" by Kyung-sook Shin). There seems to be a reverence and a respect for older women in the Korean culture that is reflected in its art. By contrast, there is a shortage of Hollywood films that feature an older woman as the central lead. (Could this be because of a lack of appreciation for older women in the Western culture? Yes, I believe so.) If there were adventurous Hollywood producers, they can attempt to remake this into an English language film. Of course, the quietness of this film and the emotions behind it may not translate well into a Hollywood feature.

But this is truly one of the best films ever made.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ray Andrews on December 27, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
POETRY tells a simple tale of an elderly woman who is diagnosed with early Alzheimer and encouraged to keep an active mind. She enrolls in a poetry class to learn that poetry is our ability to see what is truly before our eyes and our emotional impressions expressed in words. She works part-time assisting a man recovering from a stroke and looks after her grandson who treats her like a hired hand. At the start of the film, a female teenager is seen floating face down. An apparent suicide, she had been the victim of repeated gang rapes. The grandmother becomes aware of the crime, investigates the scene, attends the service but flees. Will she report this or share with other fathers of the boys involved with monetary payoffs to the poor mother? I will not reveal more of this absolutely mesmerizing film. It is long but totally engrossing. We want justice for this horrific abuse. We, as viewers, have witnessed what immoral behavior people will resort to with hope of burying the truth. Not since Li Shaohong's film, A STOLEN LIFE, has an ending been so painfully moving. This film will become a classic. People will always die but not poetry. It is the inescapable impression of our very existence.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Hunt on December 7, 2011
Format: DVD
Poetry is a 2010 South Korean film directed by Lee Chang-dong. It stars Yoon Jeong-hee as Mija, a woman in her 60's raising a derelict grandson while dealing with the onset of Alzheimer's Disease.

I picked the movie based on its case synopsis but knew to expect more because of where it was filmed. My introduction to South Korean cinema was Taegukgi and I was blown away. Since then, I've kept the country on my radar and have not once been disappointed in their efforts. Now I'm at the point where I prefer South Korean movies and when I found Poetry, it was an easy decision. Once again, I was rewarded for my favoritism.

Poetry is a beautiful and disturbing film. At the risk of exposing the plot, I'll refrain from specifics, but it makes this review difficult to write. There aren't any major twists to give away but there are turns to take and I don't want to ruin them. There is a suicide that involves Mija directly and the effect on her is profound. What I most love about Korean films is the realism. Even while their plots rotate around a ravaging sea monster, they still bring a brilliant believability out of their characters. Poetry delivers this legitimacy also and it was a treat to be involved. It felt real.

I think the only problem I had with the film was its length. This particular poem weighs in at just under 140 minutes dropping it in the, "epic" world where haikus have to attack in packs. But this isn't a huge problem as it seemed to go by fairly quickly. It's my opinion that the film could have taken a bit more editing to keep it around two hours, but that's just me and I'm no filmmaker. So what do I know? It's something to keep in mind, though, especially if you're a quick-fix type moviegoer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter M on December 2, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
One of the best films I have ever seen .South Korea has produced some of the world's most brilliant films in recent years and POETRY ranks as the best . Yung Jung-Hee's performance is so mesmerizing that you cannot take your eyes of the screen for a second.There isn't a dull moment in the film's 139 minutes and the finale is unforgettable. One will think of this beautifully haunting film long after it has ended.Only one film in ten thousand has the ability to do this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Wang on February 15, 2012
Format: DVD
This movie is about many things. It is about art, how the arts make us see something sublime through the dreariness in our daily life. It is about how arts make we bond and feel for each other. It raises the issue of morality, should the adults use this temporarily least damaging solution, disregards any principles? It can also raises the issues of the situation of kids, some kids' lives are composed of working for exam scores for school and video game for leisure. Could they become people with no compassion and no sense of morality?

I am especially impressed by the style of this movie. I read that the director used to a novelist. You can feel the director observed and narrated the story with the eyes of a novelist. The story is gripping, beautifully told but the director never artificially inflated it, which is very refreshing. I feel my soul is massaged by watching this movie.
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