Poetry, a film by Lee Chang-dong.

Poetry, the latest film from Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong, won the prize for Best Screenplay at Cannes. It is structured like a detective story, except there’s no Hollywood-style mystery to the film’s meandering central investigation. Unlike a traditional detective, Yang Mija (played by Yoon Jeong-hee) isn’t looking for clues or evidence. As an elderly woman newly diagnosed with dementia, she’s looking for something more elusive, perhaps even metaphysical. In sifting through the consequences of the discovery of a young girl’s body in a nearby river, what Mija finds is a key to understanding the mystery not just of the girl’s death, but of her own life.
A key quality to the film’s storytelling brilliance is explained during a class Mija attends to learn how to write poetry. Her teacher says that the key to writing good poetry is observation: “It’s important to see everything surrounding us well.” This conceit eventually guides not only the way Mija thinks about poetry, but eventually how she sees the world around her. It becomes a particularly useful tool for this aging woman, whom the world seems to have stopped regarding as worth its attention. In an early scene, Mija initially tries to ask a neighbor what kind of food she’s drying, but the neighbor doesn’t care to respond. It’s a seemingly throwaway moment, but that display of casual indifference is worth a page of expository dialogue in establishing Mija’s place in the world, a corner of obscurity from which she will gradually, almost miraculously emerge.
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