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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Poetry [Blu-ray]


(Chang-dong Lee, 2010)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Pine House Film

Video: Kino International



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:19:21.394

Disc Size: 43,928,261,608 bytes

Feature Size: 39,603,996,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.14 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard case

Release date: August 23rd, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Korean 3781 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3781 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, none



• 'Making of...' documentary (8:32 in 1080i)

• Interview with Ahn Nae-sang (2:28 in 1080i)

• Trailer (1:53 in 1080P)

Stills Gallery





Description: Mija (Yoon Jeong-hee) is a beautiful woman in her sixties who moves gracefully through life, contemplating a trivial daily routine that is ill-suited to her refined persona. With elegance and a dash of eccentricity, Mija takes care of her ungrateful grandson Wook (Lee David) and makes a living by cleaning house for an elderly man who, though paralyzed by a stroke, still responds to her charm with bouts of drug-induced arousal. On a whim, Mija enrolls in a poetry class at the local cultural centre and begins a personal quest to find the perfect words to describe her feelings. However, she s plagued by the onset of Alzheimer's disease, and struggles with new vocabulary and the challenges of the creative process. When her world is turned upside down by the discovery of a monstrous crime, it is Mija's unique and touching poetry that allows her to defy the weight of shame and distance herself from a painful proximity to violence. WINNER: BEST SCREENPLAY AWARD - 2010 Cannes Film Festival.



The Film:

Like Lee’s earlier Oasis and Secret Sunshine, Poetry lives and dies by the quality of its leading actress’ performance. Yun Jung Lee, who plays Mija, doesn’t let her director down. She anchors every scene of the film, creating a character who is alternatively flighty, devoted, and despairing. Her struggles to assert herself emotionally are the film’s central concern, which gives her performance ample opportunity to shine. “The point is the feeling,” an amateur poet tells her while describing her writing process, and where Ms. Lee succeeds is in helping us to understand her uncertainty about her conflicting emotions. Elsewhere, director Lee’s devotion to women can be felt. Most of the men here are emotionally stunted louts. Even the one male who is attempts to describe his feelings in Mina’s poetry class talks somewhat superficially in comparison to the parade of women who rhapsodize about the glories of childhood or love.

Excerpt from the Jeremy Heilman at Movie Martyr located HERE

The importance of seeing, seeing the world deeply, is at the heart of this quietly devastating, humanistic work from the South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong. Throughout the story, the teacher, a bespectacled man with an easy manner, will guide the students as each struggles to write a single poem, searching memories and emotions for inspiration. “Up till now, you haven’t seen an apple for real,” he says in that first class, as the film cuts to a student, Mija (Yun Jung-hee), sliding into a seat. “To really know what an apple is, to be interested in it, to understand it,” he adds, “that is really seeing it.” From the way the camera settles on Mija it’s evident that he could substitute the word apple for woman — or life.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Kino's Blu-ray of Chang-dong Lee's wonderfully sensitive Poetry looks very strong.  The image quality is highly detailed. Colors are respectfully pastel-passive without boosted exuberant vibrancy. The rendering is dual-layered with a very high bitrate in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Contrast does not export piercing black-levels but sharpness is not deterred.  This is a consistent look with frequently impressive visuals which support the film extremely well. This Blu-ray is probably a highly accurate representation of the film Poetry but I will probably compare to the UK 1080P edition, out at the end of November, enabling me to get a better handle on the transfer authenticity.
















Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3781 kbps in the original Korean. It doesn't get much (any?) demonstrative action with the film exporting a very passive soundstage. It is clean and crisp and sounds authentic to the source. There is some very minor separations and no requirement for dynamic depth. I suspect its sounds exactly as the film was meant to. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Not too much. A English subtitled 'Making of...' documentary runs 8.5 minutes in HD and features interviews with actress Jeong-hie Yun and director Chang-dong Lee. There is also a short interview with Ahn Nae-sang running only 2.5 minutes, a trailer in HD and a stills gallery.



We are talking a tremendously humanistic film experience. Poetry is well-deserved of its critical accolades. This is a film that helps but existence into important perspectives. The Kino Blu-ray is solid but I will compare to the UK version to authenticate that. The a/v is supportive and helps supply an engrossing Home Theater presentation. We'd have liked more extras but we still give a strong recommendation. Don't miss this film! 

Gary Tooze

August 18th, 2011



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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