Poetry

In: Film and Music

Submitted By abhineetk
Words 2354
Pages 10
“You’ve never seen an apple before. Not even once. 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.” – Poetry teacher, Kim Yongtak
The significance of seeing the world in a meaningful way is at the heart of Lee Chang-dong’s gentle, yet devastatingly humanistic film, Poetry. The masterwork grasps a certain intangibility of life; a certain meaning of existence that can only be seen if, coincidentally, one tries to understand the film like a poem. In the same way that we’ll never “see” an apple until we try to “understand” it, we’ll never truly see a tree, hear a bird sing, or come to fathom, in any meaningful way, the existence of another human being until we really try. Mija, the film’s protagonist, is a 66-year old raising her teenage grandson, Wook, in a tiny, cluttered apartment in an unnamed South Korean city. The film begins with her being diagnosed as an Alzheimer’s patient. With the onset of this disease, her life begins to lose meaning: words fade from her vocabulary, connections with the material word diminish, and people don’t seem to make much sense to her. Considering this, her pursuit to study poetry is a way to imbue her life with new meaning. And while this pursuit begins as a pastime, it soon transforms into a passion and, finally, becomes a means of transcendence; a means of seeing the world and the people close to her in a way that could only be described as beautiful, genuine and poetic. For while Mija does not initially understand the death of the young girl, Agnes, through poetry, she is able to see it clearly.
Lee begins the film with a mesmerizing image of rushing water in a river stream. What…...

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