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by Peter Knegt
May 26, 2010 5:52 AM
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Kino Acquires Cannes Winner "Poetry"

An image from Lee Chang-dong's "Poetry." Photo courtesy Cannes Film Festival.

Kino International has announced the U.S. acquisition of Lee Chang-dong's "Poetry," which recently won the Best Screenplay Award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. From the South Korean writer/director of "Secret Sunshine" and "Oasis," the film tells the story of Mija, a grandmother who lives with her middle-school grandson in a small suburban city located along the Han River.

"Korean director Lee Chang-dong generally displays an interest in outspoken characters suffering from irrevocable loss," indieWIRE's Eric Kohn wrote of the film in his review. "His latest feature, 'Poetry, continues that trend with a moving portrait of creative discovery and the pressures of age. Yung Jungee plays the 66-year-old Mija, a gentle woman coping with the onset of senility and finding solace in a writing course. Her journey to externalize her life in verse forms the bulk of the movie. Lee patiently establishes her solemn existence around Yung's deeply believable performance, injecting a bittersweet vibe into her bleak reality."

The film scored a "B+ average from 12 different criticWIRE critics at Cannes, and made indieWIRE's list of the most well-recieved films at the fest.

The deal was negotiated by Donald Krim for Kino International, a releasing arm of Kino Lorber Inc. of which Krim is Co-President. Youngjoo Suh of Fine Cut negotiated on behalf of the producers.

"We are very excited about taking on 'Poetry' for the US market," said Donald Krim in a statement. "This film is a profound statement about the human condition and should find an audience among all filmgoers looking for movies that nourish the soul. It also justifiably marks the further recognition of Lee Chang-dong as a world-class director."

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