Mija, Poetry's protagonist, is a sweet, elderly woman living in a scenic South Korean town. A caretaker at heart, she looks after both her grandson and a wealthy, aging convenience store owner. Through the withdrawal and insolence of her grandson, and despite the stinginess and senility of her ward, Mija meets her life's obstacles with a sort of patient endurance.
After forgetting some simple vocabulary, Mija pays a visit to the doctor, where she is diagnosed as being in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Unsettled by this news, she decides to enroll in a local poetry course, where her pursuit of poetic inspiration begins. Mija’s dementia is, unfortunately, not the last bit of tragedy to strike, which impels her to seek her poetic voice with a new desperation.
Poetry is a real diamond in the rough. Packing the film with vivid imagery, director Lee Chang-dong provokes the viewer into a meaningful aesthetic discourse with the screen. The Mija character is multifaceted, offset from her environment by busy garments, flowery settings, and even her bubbly ringtone.
Like so many great films, Poetry teaches you how to watch it. The story surfaces a discussion on the meanings of colors, which can be quite rewardingly applied to its own composition. As Mija finds her voice and her poem, so will you find a film that bears rich fruit upon thorough consideration.
- Poetry (LEE Chang-dong 2011) @ Opera Plaza Cinema