From the award-winning Korean writer/director/editor Kim K-Duk comes this critifcally acclaimed and exquisitely beautiful story of a young Buddhist monk’s evolution from innocence to Love, Evil to Enlightenment and ultimately to Rebirth.
Prayer, meditation, and appreciation of nature are the sacraments by which two monks live a simple life in Korean director Kim Ki-Duk’s SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER… AND SPRING. A wise old monk (Oh Young-soo) is master to a young student, and remains so throughout the changing seasons of the younger monk’s life. In springtime the young monk is a 5-year-old boy, in summer he is a teenager, in fall he is a 30-year-old man, and in winter he is in mid-life. The master and his student live in a tranquil house that floats in the middle of a pond hidden in a vast woodland. Paddling their row boat to the edge of the pond, they roam the forest collecting herbs for medicine, observing animals, and learning deep lessons about life. When a woman brings her sick daughter to the monks to be healed, a lustful relationship results between the daughter and the teenage monk. Though sex is the appropriate cure for the girl, the affair is a harbinger of evil for the monk, whose innocence is replaced by corruption. After paying for his sins over the course of many years, the monk finds inner peace and is reborn. A spiritual soundtrack and superb nature photography make this film a joy to watch, and its story is rich with messages about forgiveness and inner peace.
Hitherto best-known amongst Asian cinema connoisseurs for such violent fare as The Isle and Bad Guy, Korean writer-director Kim Ki-Duk casts off his bad-boy reputation with magical fable Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… And Spring. The film’s dreamlike setting is a beautiful lake, surrounded by mountains and forests, and on whose waters floats a small wooden temple. Here live an elderly monk (Oh Young-Soo) and his mischievous child pupil (Seo Jae-Kyung). We follow the turbulent passage of the latter’s life without moving away from this enclosed environment.
Over the course of the film’s five concise chapters, Spring, Summer… explores a whole range of human experiences: the pleasure and pain of desire, joy and sorrow, guilt and atonement, thoughtlessness and awareness, death and rebirth. Representatives of the outside world impinge on the lives of the central duo, with the arrival (in Summer) of a young woman seeking treatment for a mysterious illness causing the now teenage monk (Kim Young-Min) to fall passionately in love. “Lust awakens the desire to possess,” his unnamed mentor warns prophetically, “which ends in the intent to murder.”
Animals serve as a recurrent motif within the individual sections, from the frogs and snakes around whose bodies the kid maliciously ties stones, to the cat whose tail is used to paint the calligraphic sutra, an action designed to cleanse a person’s anger. And there are plenty of other imaginative touches, such as the stand-alone and often flooded door that serves as an unusual entrance to the lake.
“KI-DUK IMPRESSIVELY FUSES STYLE AND CONTENT”
Ki-Duk, who himself takes on a key role in the Winter segment, impressively fuses style and content. He doesn’t judge the actions of his characters or rely on Buddhist sermonising to convey the film’s ideas. Instead he achieves a sense of serenity through ravishing images of nature, contemplative pacing and the elegance of his storytelling, without losing sight of the burdens of our existence.
1.49GB | 1h 42mn | 854×462 | mkv
Subtitles:English (idx, sub, srt)