Such is the power of poetry, and of Lee's film, the power to transcend brutishness, comfort the violated, and achieve empathy. It's a power not much in demand these days, or so the poetry teacher laments, even as his companion, a drunken, celebrated young poet, affirms that it deserves to die. That fate Lee ponders at the very beginning of Poetry with an ambiguous image: a dead child floating face down in a river, the title of the film written beside her. Perhaps, he is suggesting, the impulse toward poetry can redeem even the worst manifestations of human nature.
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY LEE CHANG-DONG | WITH YUN JUNG-HEE, LEE DAVID, AHN NAE-SANG, KIM HI-RA, KIM GYE-SUN, MIN BOK-GI, PARK MYUNG-SHIN, AND KIM YONG-TAEK | KINO INTERNATIONAL | KOREAN | 139 MINUTES