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Shi (2010)

Unrated | | Drama | 11 February 2011 (USA)
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A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class.

Director:

Chang-dong Lee

Writer:

Chang-dong Lee
24 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jeong-hie Yun ... Mija
Da-wit Lee ... Jongwook
Hee-ra Kim Hee-ra Kim ... M. Kang
Nae-sang Ahn ... Kibum's father
Myung-shin Park Myung-shin Park ... Heejin's mother
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yong-taek Kim Yong-taek Kim
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Storyline

A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean

Release Date:

11 February 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Poetry See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

KRW 1,300,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,900, 13 February 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$355,044, 14 August 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The idea for the film had its origin in a real-life case where a small town schoolgirl had been raped by a gang of teenage boys. When director Chang-dong Lee heard about the incident, it made an impact on him, although he hadn't been interested in basing a film on the actual events. Later, during a visit in Japan, Lee saw a television program in his hotel room. The program was edited entirely from relaxing shots of nature, "a peaceful river, birds flying, fishermen on the sea ? with soft new-age music in the background," and a vision for a possible feature film started to form. "Suddenly, it reminded me of that horrible incident, and the word 'poetry' and the image of a 60-year old woman came up in my mind. See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.21 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Real, revealing, moving, interesting...what else can you ask for?
15 September 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Poetry (2010)

Steady and stealthy, this film proposes to be as lyrical and compact as a poem, but then it keeps going and ends up larger and more impressive than you'd expect. And the acting by leading female actress, the Korean star Jeong-hie Yun, is startling and nuanced, a great performance.

At the heart of the plot are two plots. The first is the title line—elderly Mija has decided to learn how to write poetry, so she attends a class (filled with younger students). The second is about a sex crime—a gang rape it turns out—by her grandson, who she is raising alone. The two are nearly opposites in so many ways we see how life itself balances the beautiful and ugly, and responsibility and indifference. In a larger way, "Poetry" is about contemporary life in Korea, and the interactions of ordinary people in extreme situations will be revealing to many outside of Korea.

It's hard to overstate how well this movie pulls off something socially serious and yet makes it all understated and almost matter of fact. There are these several lines of thought that keep going throughout, and that don't quite converge until the very end, which is both tragic (truly) and a bit mysterious. What exactly is the implication of that last scene on the bridge, and the water that shows nothing? It hearkens to the beginning, of course, but we have our main character at hand.

In that sense, it's a brilliant, almost perfect evocation of contemporary Korea on the most normal, middle class level. Lovely and loving, and cold and brutal. And it shows the glib sexism of the men there, much like everywhere at various times. And how to survive you sometimes have to just proceed. And then, of course, sometimes you do not survive.


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