Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring

File Under: Synopsis & Review

A quiet Korean and German movie that tells the fable of life and the burdens we carry with us. The movie takes place on a small floating monastery, a monk lives with a young boy (probably about 5 years old). The monk is his master out to teach the boy how to find tranquility and live a similiar life of Zen peacefulness. In the first vignette of Spring, the boy is chastised for his treatment of small creatures. It is so beautifully simple that it seems to be beamed right out of a koan. Things change in Summer, as the boy is shown to be approximately of teen age. A sickly young girl comes to live with them on the monastic boathouse and (of course) an affair between the two youths blooms.

The film is told with very little dialogue and extremely lush scenes of the area that the monastic boathouse exits in. The fable of the story is the fragility of life and the burdens we carry. There is an extremely strong metaphor about doors and the use and placement of doors. The kanji for "shut" as in "shut the door" is also fraught with meaning. Kim Ki-Duk did an excellent job of carving out the simple beauty without words.