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Poetry


  1. Directed by: Chang-dong Lee
  2. Produced by:
  3. Written by: Chang-dong Lee
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by:
  6. Editing by:
  7. Release Date: 2010
  8. Running Time: 139
  9. Language: Korean

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

Near the opening of this film, 66-year old Mi-ja listens to her poetry teacher leading the class in a lesson about seeing : ‘How many times have you seen an apple? ..You've never seen an apple before. Not even once. Until now, you haven't seen an apple for real. To really know what an apple is, to be interested in it, to understand it, to converse with it, is really seeing it. Gazing at it for a while and observing its shadow, feeling its every curve, turning it around, taking a bite out of it, imagining the sunlight absorbed in it. That is really seeing it.’

Though waylaid by Alzheimer's, Mi-ja finds herself challenged to consider a dead teenage girl and her family as the poetry teacher challenges her to see the apple. What does it mean to really see another person and to grasp their suffering? This film suggests that the old among us, and especially those elderly who are considered weakest of mind, may be able to really see the lost souls in our world better than the rest of us. The poetry teacher follows by saying, ‘If you really see something, you can feel something naturally like water gathering in a spring.’ The film is blessedly complex and challenging, as we find its heroine embodying that poetic notion in both fulfilling and devastating ways. On the one hand, Mi-ja succeeds in really seeing the pain and life of others as water gathers in a clear and sustaining spring. On the other hand, she is also so fragile and alone in her quest to see that she beholds that pain as one deluged by the gathering waves.

Lee Chang-dong's film is both celebration and lamentation. Celebration of the old among us for the way they can see and function as the conscience of the society around them. Celebration for the way they can feel the pain of those whom no one else notices. Yet lamentation also - for the old in our world, those among God's creatures whose own pain is often likely to be unseen by those around them. Unseen, unfelt and, as of water by a blocked spring, ungathered. Poetry closes with a shot that encapsulates the idea of seeing the wounded and hurting. In so doing, it calls us to see those wounded in a way that echoes the divine tears once shed near Lazarus’s tomb. – Brian Duignan


  1. Directed by: Chang-dong Lee
  2. Produced by:
  3. Written by: Chang-dong Lee
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by:
  6. Editing by:
  7. Release Date: 2010
  8. Running Time: 139
  9. Language: Korean

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

Near the opening of this film, 66-year old Mi-ja listens to her poetry teacher leading the class in a lesson about seeing : ‘How many times have you seen an apple? ..You've never seen an apple before. Not even once. Until now, you haven't seen an apple for real. To really know what an apple is, to be interested in it, to understand it, to converse with it, is really seeing it. Gazing at it for a while and observing its shadow, feeling its every curve, turning it around, taking a bite out of it, imagining the sunlight absorbed in it. That is really seeing it.’

Though waylaid by Alzheimer's, Mi-ja finds herself challenged to consider a dead teenage girl and her family as the poetry teacher challenges her to see the apple. What does it mean to really see another person and to grasp their suffering? This film suggests that the old among us, and especially those elderly who are considered weakest of mind, may be able to really see the lost souls in our world better than the rest of us. The poetry teacher follows by saying, ‘If you really see something, you can feel something naturally like water gathering in a spring.’ The film is blessedly complex and challenging, as we find its heroine embodying that poetic notion in both fulfilling and devastating ways. On the one hand, Mi-ja succeeds in really seeing the pain and life of others as water gathers in a clear and sustaining spring. On the other hand, she is also so fragile and alone in her quest to see that she beholds that pain as one deluged by the gathering waves.

Lee Chang-dong's film is both celebration and lamentation. Celebration of the old among us for the way they can see and function as the conscience of the society around them. Celebration for the way they can feel the pain of those whom no one else notices. Yet lamentation also - for the old in our world, those among God's creatures whose own pain is often likely to be unseen by those around them. Unseen, unfelt and, as of water by a blocked spring, ungathered. Poetry closes with a shot that encapsulates the idea of seeing the wounded and hurting. In so doing, it calls us to see those wounded in a way that echoes the divine tears once shed near Lazarus’s tomb. – Brian Duignan

Near the opening of this film, 66-year old Mi-ja listens to her poetry teacher leading the class in a lesson about seeing : ‘How many times have you seen an apple? ..You've never seen an apple before. Not even once. Until now, you haven't seen an apple for real. To really know what an apple is, to be interested in it, to understand it, to converse with it, is really seeing it. Gazing at it for a while and observing its shadow, feeling its every curve, turning it around, taking a bite out of it, imagining the sunlight absorbed in it. That is really seeing it.’

Though waylaid by Alzheimer's, Mi-ja finds herself challenged to consider a dead teenage girl and her family as the poetry teacher challenges her to see the apple. What does it mean to really see another person and to grasp their suffering? This film suggests that the old among us, and especially those elderly who are considered weakest of mind, may be able to really see the lost souls in our world better than the rest of us. The poetry teacher follows by saying, ‘If you really see something, you can feel something naturally like water gathering in a spring.’ The film is blessedly complex and challenging, as we find its heroine embodying that poetic notion in both fulfilling and devastating ways. On the one hand, Mi-ja succeeds in really seeing the pain and life of others as water gathers in a clear and sustaining spring. On the other hand, she is also so fragile and alone in her quest to see that she beholds that pain as one deluged by the gathering waves.

Lee Chang-dong's film is both celebration and lamentation. Celebration of the old among us for the way they can see and function as the conscience of the society around them. Celebration for the way they can feel the pain of those whom no one else notices. Yet lamentation also - for the old in our world, those among God's creatures whose own pain is often likely to be unseen by those around them. Unseen, unfelt and, as of water by a blocked spring, ungathered. Poetry closes with a shot that encapsulates the idea of seeing the wounded and hurting. In so doing, it calls us to see those wounded in a way that echoes the divine tears once shed near Lazarus’s tomb. – Brian Duignan


  1. Directed by: Chang-dong Lee
  2. Produced by:
  3. Written by: Chang-dong Lee
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by:
  6. Editing by:
  7. Release Date: 2010
  8. Running Time: 139
  9. Language: Korean

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix
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