Poetry

One of South Korea's most significant New Wave talents, Lee Chang-dong also remains its least seen auteur in the States; it's taken three years for his universally praised Secret Sunshine to get an American theatrical run. (It finally opens in New York this November.) This latest offbeat tale, of an elderly woman (Yoon Jeong-hee) discovering the joys of free verse as her mind deteriorates, however, isn't the best introduction to his work. The director can certainly produce moments of curdled beauty—consider that opening shot of a floating corpse—but the lack of a tonal balance among the film's weepie story line, character-study elements and lurid attempt to examine the evil within leaves you wanting. It's an interesting minor effort; you're better off seeking out his earlier major ones.—David Fear

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