South Korean film 'Poetry' scoops Cannes best screenplay prize

23rd May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Acclaimed South Korean director Lee Chang-Dong's "Poetry", a cocktail of crime and verse, took the best screenplay prize at Cannes on Sunday.

The unlikely brew of teenage gang-rape and poetry stirred Cannes, featuring a dazzling comeback to movies after 16 years by Yun Jun-Ghee.

The 65-year-old actress had been hotly tipped for best actress, an award finally scooped by France's Juliette Binoche.

A classic morality tale, the 140-minute movie was one of the powerful contingent of five Asian films among the 19 competing for the Palme d'Or.

Peppered with poems, Lee's drama kicks off with a teenage suicide and charts the inner drama of a grandmother dealing with age, a teenage gang-rape, and a quintessentially adolescent grandson -- surly, lazy and pimply.

The central character hopes poetry will help her find meaning in life.

But fate decides otherwise, throwing up a slew of obstacles -- in particular the gang-rape by her grandson and his friend of a schoolmate who leaps to a watery death.

"There are lots of sex crimes but they're little talked about and for quite some time I'd been thinking about such a real-life incident," the director told AFP.

In the slice-of-life drama, Lee lightens the darkness with an ode to poetry.

"Poetry is about looking for beauty and the beauty in the film is the quest to write poems."

"If poetry were to vanish one day there'd be no hope," he added.

Yun told AFP she had agreed to play in the film after a long absence on screen because it was the right script with the right director in a role tailored to suit.

"I'm very romantic, often a little out of step, I'm very much like the woman in the film."

The movie is the fifth from Lee, a writer turned teacher turned government minister who last year served on the Cannes festival jury.

© 2010 AFP

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