Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter........And Spring - A Trans-Cultural Insight Into Human Life

                          Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.......And Spring is a sharp meditation on the cycle of life and death, and it is a gorgeous motion picture. Korean Cinema's 'Angry Young Man' Kim Ki-duk makes a gritty, witty, sublime, and transcendental movie reflecting one man's life journey. Each and every shot amplifies the emotionally resonant story.

                         Spring, Summer........ is a statement that artisitic movies do not have to be boring. The movie's theme is universal, since it talks about mutability of life and the desire for peace and atonement. You might not identify intimately with the characters, but despite your profession or interests, the points raised by Kim Ki-duk could be easily understood.

                        The title uses the changes of seasons as a metaphor for life.  The five seasons in the title follows the physical, mental, spiritual development of a man from boyhood to adulthood. It is one long, intensely aesthetic Buddhist meditation on the passage of life and time, the acceptance of responsibility and the release of desire.

        The plot is simple. An aging monk (Oh Young Soo)lives in a monastery on a tree-lined lake with his sole companion, a child apprentice (Kim Jong Ho). The boy, spends one afternoon casually tormenting animals, tying rocks to a frog, a snake, and a fish. The Buddhist monk responds by tying a rock to the boy's back and instructing him to rescue the animals he has burdened. One of the animal survive but two does not, and that figurative rocks will stay with the boy for a long time.

            Each season is a chapter in the young man's life, separated by a decade or so. In "Summer" arrives a sickly but attractive adolescent girl (Ha Yeo Jin). The teenage monk (now played by Kim Young Min) is pulled into a raw, urgently sexual relationship, and when time comes for the girl to return home, the young man is heartbroken. The movie starts to spring in surprises with "Fall," in which the young monk is angry,  disturbed adult (played by Kim Ki-duk himself).

             The "Winter" is set on the beautiful the ice and snow-covered lake, in which the young monk atones for his past actions. "And ... Spring" commences the cycle once again, with a child deposited at the monastery by an anonymous mother.

                 The film has a careful composition and presentation of a painting. Director Kim Ki-Duk keeps the every scene nearly as static as a painting. He combines stunning emotion and visual luster, and endorses the heartening idea that a spirit need not be pure to be worthy. Much of the film is wordless, but Kim stacks with visual symbols of faith. Spring, Summer....." is a rare movie that would be worth seeing for the cinematography alone. Director of photography Baek Dong-hyeon and Kim Ki-duk have taken great pains to celebrate the beauty of their location (a national park in South Korea) as a recognition of the importance of the natural order is central to Buddhist philosophy. For the record, the floating, authentic-looking hermitage was built for the movie.

              The movie doesn't demand your knowledge about a particular religion or a philosophy. It works for those who are not adherents of the tenets of Buddhism. The film bears witness to the concept that existence is circular. The pace of "Spring, Summer....." is deliberately slow but there is too much richness in the movie's emotional tapestry for it to be considered dull or drawn-out. 

             The heavy symbolism is engrossing rather than distracting. A ceremonial, freestanding door leads from the monks' sleeping area to where the girl lies, and the young man is quick to disregard it to get to his beloved. The symbolical door represents self-respect more than religious fear. By circumventing it, the young man is ultimately betraying himself. The following seasons bring a chill of extreme spiritual challenge, then the warmth of nature's constant opportunities for renewal. 

            The film's ideas and images stimulate your mind as you watch, and stay with you after wards.  "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.......And Spring" may also cause you to contemplate on your own life, and your place in the world around you, and that's a claim few films can make. Watch this movie and appreciate the wisdom, you have accumulated through it. 


 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring - IMDb


Haricharan Pudipeddi said...

I downloaded this film two days back and was planning to watch it at the earliest :) Will watch and get back with a comment

Meoww said...

Seems to be a very interesting story and even more beautiful place! I have this sudden overwhelming urge to visit this place...

Seasons in Korea are in their own way, very beautiful. I will find out how i can see this movie.

Unknown said...

I have not watched many foreign language films, except for a few french ones. This one sure looks like a master piece~

Anonymous said...

The photograph stole most of my attention. :)

Although i don't watch movies at a pace as yours, I really like the posts and recommend it to my friends.

Puru@ShadowsGalore said...

This is one of my favorite films .. as soothing as a Buddhist chant in some monastery. Loved your beautiful review :)

Arun Kumar said...

@Haricharan, Would love to hear your opinion on this movie.

@Meoww, Thanks for the comment.

@Ghazala, This is definitely a must-watch masterpiece.

Arun Kumar said...

@Divenita, Thank you very much. Keep visiting.

@Puru, Thanks for the comment.

ArjunaUbacha said...

Looks like a must see. The trailer is good.

Updesh said...

Really a worth watching movie !!!