Director: Lee Chang-Dong
Year Released: 2010
An elderly maid (Yun Jeong-hie) - poor and in the early stages of dementia - starts taking poetry classes to get her to 'see' the world in a more introspective way; meanwhile, she's stuck living with her ungrateful, slovenly grandson who had something to do with the suicide of a female classmate. There's no room for levity in this all-too-serious, all-too-pointed tract on the relationship between poems and death, though it (mercifully) never sinks into sappiness: the maid is a strong, determined and willful woman, and remains loyal to her grandson and daughter even when it's clear they're taking advantage of her. Lee's meditative approach - also evident in Secret Sunshine - demands viewer patience, but his exploration of the act of writing poetry and the unfortunate side effect of dementia in consistently seeing old things as 'new' is a wonderful parallel: the gift of writing creatively cannot always be 'taught.'