Throughout December, J.R. Jones and I will take turns writing about our favorite films that had their Chicago premieres this year.

From 2003 – 2004 the author and filmmaker Lee Chang-dong took some time away from his art to serve as South Korea’s Minister of Culture, and the appointment seems to have made him a more thoughtful and committed artist. Lee’s two features since returning to filmmaking (Secret Sunshine and now Poetry) are profound in their consideration of art’s role in society.