Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring
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The title in Korean is: "Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom."
Proof that movies don’t always have to be busy to entertain and enrich, this tale of life at a bucolic Korean monastery is at once profound and simple. The most action-packed it gets is when somebody rows a boat, and there’s precious little dialogue. In five episodes that begin and end with the opening of ornate wooden doors, the film follows a Buddhist monk from his childhood to old age, through moments of childish cruelty, adolescent passion, a young man’s anger, an aging man’s strenuous quest for clarity and peace, and the renewal of the cycle as an infant initiate arrives.
View from Nowhere
This is a truly wonderful movie that quietly explores life and karma through the watching of the lives of a teacher and his student. There is no preaching- just the lines drawn between choices and their consequences. And like any good Buddhist film, tomorrow is another day and offers another chance to begin again. It is simple and beautiful and can be enjoyed by both children and adults.
Other Views from Nowhere
"Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring:
Materialism leads to Militarism"
Film Review by Paki Dechen Palmo
This quietly, exquisitely beautiful S.Korean/German film, written and directed by Kim Ki-Duk, employs a theatrical tableau in its various segments, all of which are thematically connected, as well as being a metaphor for the stages of life.
Characters and their actions tell a moving story of the bond between a Buddhist monk and his young student, throughout one life and into the next.
The lessons about life are decidedly Buddhistic. Desire leads to possession, says the master, and possession leads to murder. At first this shocked me, but on reflection it isn't at all difficult to see the larger implications of this truth. As long as the world is in thrall to materialism, it will also be overrun with militarism -- because possessiveness inevitably leads to aggression.
In Kim Ki-Duk's movie, the master is wise and compassionate, as masters should be. The young monk is reluctant to renunciate his passions, as most of us are. And therein lies the tale . . .
In addition to the magical images of the monastery floating on a lake surrounded by lush forest, I loved the transformative symbolism of the snake as a stand-in for the master's departed spirit -- and the implication that while we may run away from our own awakening, it is always there,
patiently waiting for us. ***