Three people live in a remote Buddhist monastery near Mount Chonan: Hyegok, the old master; Yong Nan, a young man who has left his extended family in the city to seek enlightenment - Hyegok... See full summary »
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Preston Estep III,
S. Waite Rawls III
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Three people live in a remote Buddhist monastery near Mount Chonan: Hyegok, the old master; Yong Nan, a young man who has left his extended family in the city to seek enlightenment - Hyegok calls him Kibong!; and, an orphan lad Haejin, whom Hyegok has brought to the monastery to raise as a monk. The story is mostly Yong Nan's, told in flashbacks: how he came to the monastery, his brief return to the city, his vacillation between the turbulence of the world and his hope to overcome passions and escape the idea of self. We also see Hyegok as a teacher, a protector, and a father figure, and we watch Haejin make his way as a curious and nearly self-sufficient child. Written by
I first saw this movie back in 1990, being played in Switzerland. to understand and appreciate this movie, you need to face the fact that western and eastern story-telling differ a lot. And since Bodhi-Dharma, who never appears in the picture, is the first patriarch of Ch'an Buddhism in China, meditation is not only a subject of the movie but also became an inspiration for the makers. The story is therefore told in an extremely slow manner, including several flashbacks. It's a perfect introduction to Zen, but also a relaxing and beautiful movie to enjoy alone.
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