I watched an amazing movie over the weekend. It was a South-Korean film called Poetry.
The movie jacket boasts a host of awards from recognized film festivals like Cannes, Toronto, Telluride and New York. After seeing the film, I understand why. It has a very quiet nature, and yet it builds to a fascinating climax.
The movie doesn’t have anything to do with haiku, per se, but it does question the origin of poetic inspiration, a topic that — of course — interests me as Alison and I are now deep into year three of Haiku By Two.
The main character of the film, a 60-ish woman named Mija, has recently been told by her doctors that she has Alzheimer’s Disease.
She doesn’t know what to do with this information. After all, her high-school aged grandson (whom she is raising) seems downright incapable of behaving in any sort of civilized manner, and her daughter (the grandson’s mother) lives in another city. Mija is, it seems, on her own when it comes to addressing the needs of her disease.
On a whim, she registers for a poetry class at her local community center. There, she hopes to discover an artistic muse. She desperately wants to write one good poem before she loses her grasp on language, but doesn’t know where to look for inspiration.
At a time when Mija should be focusing her energy and money on herself, however, she learns that her grandson has been involved in an awful crime. A local young woman has killed herself and Mija’s grandson, along with a handful of his friends, are accused of causing the situation that led to the suicide.
Given her Alzheimer’s, will Mija be able to fully grasp the seriousness of her grandson’s crime? Will she be able to help him escape arrest? And will she ever find her muse and write the perfect poem?
Poetry is not the kind of movie that features eye-popping special effects, and it is not the kind of movie that will have you griping your armrest in suspense. But it is the kind of movie that gets under your skin. Poetry is the kind of movie you need to watch with someone else so that you have a discussion partner at the end.
I, unfortunately, watched it by myself, and thus have been dying to talk about it with someone (anyone!) who has experienced it and can help me digest the story.
If you’ve seen it, drop me a comment and let me know what you thought about it, especially the end!
Or, if this post so moves you, rent it and watch it, then come back here and tell me what you think!