Archive of films Poetry / Shi

South Korea
2010, 139 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2010

No longer young, Mi-ja still likes to dress nicely and her eccentric hats correspond to her fondness for beauty and poetry. Her interest in writing verse leads her to sign up for a poetry course. If not for an unpleasant incident involving her grandson, Mi-ja would continue living her small, satisfied life. The writer-director took Best Screenplay at the 2010 Cannes film festival, and at this year’s 45th Karlovy Vary IFF he is also doing jury duty.


Mi-ja lives in a small country town with a river running through it. She’s over 60 but she looks young for her age and she likes to dress well. Her hats may seem a bit eccentric but they correspond to Mi-ja’s fondness for beauty and poetry. Her interest in writing verse leads her to enroll in a poetry course at the local community center, and she becomes a devoted student. Her new hobby doesn’t prevent her from making a living taking care of a disabled old man, and she also looks after an adolescent grandson who lives with her. He causes Mi-ja few problems, that is until it comes out that he’s mixed up in the suicide of one of his classmates. Mi-ja finds out that reality isn’t as beautiful as she’d like to believe. "What does it mean to write poetry in an age when poetry is dying?” asks director Lee Chang-dong, whose film garnered Best Screenplay at this year’s Cannes festival. The character of Mi-ja, whose story was written by the filmmaker himself, was played by legendary 1960s Korean film star Yun Jung-hee, who returned to film after a long hiatus. Lee Chang-dong is a member of the grand jury at this year’s 45th KVIFF.

About the director

Lee Chang-dong (b. 1954, Daegu, Korea) studied Korean language and literature. He won recognition as a writer, and in 1993 wrote the screenplay for the film To the Starry Island (1993) on which he also worked as assistant director to Park Kwang-su. He also helped write the screenplay for his next film A Single Spark (1995). His directorial debut came with Green Fish (1997). His next work, Peppermint Candy (1999), took three awards at the Karlovy Vary IFF. Oasis (KVIFF 2003) had its international premiere at the 2002 Venice IFF where it received the Special Director’s Award, the M. Mastroianni Award for actress Moon So-ri, as well as the FIPRESCI Prize. Between 2002 and 2004 Lee Chang-dong was the Korean Minister of Culture. He founded the production company Pinehouse Films, and is currently directing again and at the same time teaching at the Korean National University of Arts.


Finecut Co., Ltd
Patio House #102 (Bldg. C), 22-14 Bongeunsa-ro 26-gil, Gangnam-gu, 135-907, Seoul
Korea (Republic of)
Tel: +82 256 987 77
Fax: +82 256 994 66

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Screenplay: Lee Chang-dong
Dir. of Photography: Kim Hyun-seok
Editor: Kim Hyun
Producer: Lee Joon-dong
Production: Pinehouse Films
Cast: Yun Jung-hee, Lee David, Kim Hira, An Nae-sang
Contact: Finecut Co., Ltd


Lee Chang-dong

Film Director


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