« An extraordinary vision of human empathy » - New York Times (USA)
Poetry (original title: Shi) is one of the greatest films by Korean by worldly acclaimed director Lee Changdong, which the Best screenplay award at the Cannes Festival of films 2010. Although it's not a silent film, it has no musical soundtrack. The 0 ensemble has meticulously composed a series of themes designed to accompany the flow of the movie, interfering in its shades and suggestions, without neither betraying nor accentuate its effects.
Mija, 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. Poetry is leisurely a female-centric study of ordinary Korean life, focused on the aftermath of traumatic acts of violence, and on the moral and emotional costs they demand from survivors. With his long takes, his resolute and pure images (the cinematography is by Kim Hyun-seok), his focus on what's in front of him and his intense interest in art and religion, Lee could appear as a 21st-century East Asian answer to Robert Bresson, the rigorous French master behind Diary of a Country Priest and Au Hasard Balthazar. As this silly, vain and resolute grandmother struggles to do right by her grandson and her conscience and to write the first poem of her life, Lee tells a heartbreaking individual story that also transcends itself and seems to speak for all of us, caught in our beautiful moments between life and death, light and darkness, remembering and forgetting.
Total duration: 139’
Personnel: Jean-François Brohée (harmonium, e-bows on guitar, percussion), Sylvain Chauveau (melodica, guitar, percussion), Valérie Leclercq (voice, flute, glockenspiel), Myriam Pruvot (modular synth, voice, percussion)
Production: Korean Cultural Center (Brussels) / cinéma Galeries (Brussels)
Past performances: Cinéma Galeries (Brussels)