Lee Changdong: “What interests me are the internal conflicts in the character”

Yun Jung Hee © AFP
Korean director Lee Changdong answered questions this morning from the international press, along with his producer and brother, Lee Joondong, celebrated Korean star Yun Junghee and young actor Lee David.
Some excerpts.
About poetry
Lee Changdong: Poetry is more than a literary genre. It is what is invisible, what cannot be calculated in monetary value (…). Poetry is not a little flower. It is the world, it is life. No matter how ugly the outside is, there is always something very beautiful inside.

On comparisons with Secret Sunshine
Lee Changdong: The characters in Secret Sunshine are victims. In Poetry, I’m also interested in the suffering of the perpetrators. The main character is the grandmother of the perpetrator. On one side, she suffers and endures feelings of guilt, while on the other she writes poems and looks for the beauty around her. What interests me is the internal conflict in the character.
Did the grandmother denounce her grandson?
Lee Changdong: That is the character’s secret; it must be also an enigma for the audience. It is for them to answer that question.
About the choice of actress Yun Junghee
Lee Changdong: I thought of her right away as I was writing the script. I don’t know why. I felt that the character should resemble her.
Yun Junghee: I am very happy to be coming back with this film, but I never really left the cinema. The cinema is my life. It is true that I have received many scripts, but I didn’t like any of them very much. One day Lee Changdong came and told me he was writing for me. He sent me the script a year and a half later. I read it and it was wonderful, incredible! But I had never left the cinema. I was a member of the Jury at the Montreal Festival. I want to go on until I’m ninety (…). The character is just like me: she’s a dreamer, innocent, fanciful, maybe a little wacky.