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Farber, D. (2013). The Poetry of Poetry A film review. Rivista Psicoanal., 59(2):463-470.

(2013). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 59(2):463-470

Nello schermo del cinema

The Poetry of Poetry A film review

Review by:
Dawn Farber

Writer, director, producer: Lee Changdong. Release Date: May 13, 2010. USA release, with English subtitles, March 2011. Runtime: 139 minutes. Distributor: Next Entertainment World.

About suffering he is never wrong, this New Master. From the opening screenplay, the South Korean writer and director Lee Changdong establishes the poetic means by which he achieves this profound and moving film. A dark, wide, choppy river flows noisily by in an unspectacular country setting; a group of boys are chattily beachcombing on a river bank; birds are chirping; the camera casually pans, without fanfare, to the apparition of a corpse floating face down towards the bank. Only as meaning builds does one come to feel the background drone of this river as ominous, and to intuit retroactively a link between the innocent boys of this scene and the culpable group of teenage boys, later. The signature key of this film is quietly devastating naturalism.

The documentary version of the narrative might read: Agnes, a 16 year-old girl at X high school was found drowned in the river Y. Her journals reveal that this was a suicide, an aggravated suicide, as she had been repeatedly raped by six of her male classmates over the previous six months. The fathers of five of the boys, and the grandmother custodian of the sixth, have attempted to conceal the circumstances of the suicide in order to protect their boys from prosecution. They have bribed with 30 million Won the girl's young widowed mother, an impoverished farmer with a young son, not to press charges. Somehow, the local police have discovered this plot and the boys will now be questioned.

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