With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Sunday, December 18, 2011

ACF 1282: Reminder - KCS offering free screening of LEE Chang-dong's POETRY this Tuesday at 7:00 PM

Korean Cultural Service
Korean Movie Night
 Poetry/ Shi
South Korea, 2010, 139 minutes
When: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 7:00 PM
Doors open: 6:30 PM
Where: Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, NYC
Near the A, C, E @ #1 Canal Street subway stops
Admission: FREE!!!
All seating is first-come, first served.

Winner - “Best Screenplay” - Cannes Film Festival
Winner - “Best Screenplay” - Asian Film Awards
“…quietly devastating…” - The New York Times
“…daring…haunting…a character study of remarkable subtlety…” - The Los Angeles Times

As someone who has the highest regard for Lee Chang-dong's films, I simply have to put up this reminder post about Tuesday's FREE screening of Poetry. Think of it as a marvelous, holiday season, end of year gift from the Korean Cultural Service. Think of it any way you want. But don't miss this film.

In it, Lee Chang-dong (Secret Sunshine, Oasis, Peppermint Candy) delivers yet another big screen triumph. The movie also marks the return to the silver screen of acting legend, Yoon Jeong-Hee, who had been retired since 1994. In Lee’s film, she plays a 67 year-old grandmother, taking care of her loutish grandson and barely scraping by with a series of odd jobs.

As the movie begins, she has been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and so she enrolls in a poetry class in an effort to sharpen her mental faculties and delay the advance of her dementia. Simultaneously, a young girl who lives in her neighborhood commits suicide and slowly, in Lee’s expert hands, the strands of this narrative — a brute of a grandson, a tired old woman, poetry, suicide, senility — all come together to deliver yet another of Lee’s enormous, epic, subtle, sprawling portraits of the wo rld.

It’s a movie that should be compared to a novel for all of its elegance and depth, but that is also, truly, cinema: a story that could not be told any other way but in enormous, illuminated images.

For my review of Poetry, which ran on September 26, 2010, click here. The film, which was then screening at the New York Film Festival, earned the highest possible ACF Rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I've watched it again since then, and that rating holds now as it no doubt will in the future.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful film! To give my personal answer to one interviewer's question "Do you regard cinema, too, to be a dying form?" to the director Lee Chang-Dong. I believe (and deeply hope) that as long as films like Poetry are being made cinema will continue to flourish because it is important. It will continue to exist as long as humans exist because they are about being human. I was struck by how masterfully two sides of our humanness were presented in the film. On the one hand, it is about our search for beauty, as beauty can only be experienced if something of our own potential beauty responds to the beauty around us. There is something spiritual in this as Beauty and Truth are essentially one. On the other hand, there is the human predicament. That includes the pro and cons of the fact that we always have the choice to decide if we act ethically or not. That means if we actually say Yes to what is intrinsically our positive potential, or we say No and harm others, our environment and as a kind of end result, ourselves. What for me links the two is impermanence. Old age, illness and suicide as it is shown in the film. "Everything that is born will have to die" goes a very old Buddhist saying, and that happens no matter if we like it or not. At the same time, would we experience beauty if everything was to exist forever? Is it not because a beautiful flower grows out of a very simple looking seed in spring and then withers away after some weeks that it can become so precious to us?consulta online medico online pediatra online medico online doctor online dermatologo online veterinario online veterinario online psychologist online consulta online abogado online abogado online abogado online abogado online abogado online psicologo online doctor online psicologo online abogado online abogado online Without impermanence there is, one could say, by definition no beauty. Both are somehow the two sides of the same metaphorical coin. The same is true about this film. It still lingers on in my heart and mind weeks after I saw it. Very much like a true and wonderful poem, for example Rainer Maria Rilke's First Duino Elegy. It is is just about that, the wonder and horror of beauty.


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