A Fine Balance: The Quiet Life of a Star Actress1 min readReading Time: < 1 minute
YUN JUNG-HEE appeared in the lounge of the Grand Hotel InterContinental here wearing a gray wool suit and a silk blouse the color of heliotrope, a grande dame trailing a half-century of South Korean film history as lightly as a wisp of perfume.
Ms. Yun, 66, flashed the wry, wide smile that illuminated some 330 feature films from 1967 to 1994, the year she stepped out of the spotlight to fold and pack for Mr. Paik. Moviegoers will once again be able to glimpse that grin in “Poetry,” Lee Chang-dong’s intricate meditation on art and empathy, which opens Friday in New York.
She plays Mi-ja, a pensioner in a provincial town who signs up for a poetry class and struggles to find inspiration in everyday beauty.
Her attempts at writing are complicated by the onset of dementia, the demands of mercy sex from the stroke victim she cares for, and the news that her sullen teenage grandson, whom she is raising herself, was involved in the gang rape of a classmate, leading to her suicide.