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Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)

Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom (original title)
R | | Drama, Romance | 28 May 2004 (USA)
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A boy is raised by a Buddhist monk on an isolated floating temple where the years pass like the seasons.

Director:

Ki-duk Kim

Writer:

Ki-duk Kim
15 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Yeong-su Oh ... Old Monk (as Young-soo Oh)
Ki-duk Kim ... Adult Monk
Young-min Kim Young-min Kim ... Young Adult Monk
Jae-kyeong Seo Jae-kyeong Seo ... Boy Monk
Yeo-jin Ha Yeo-jin Ha ... The Girl
Jong-ho Kim Jong-ho Kim ... Child Monk
Jeong-yeong Kim Jeong-yeong Kim ... The Girl's Mother (as Jung-young Kim)
Dae-han Ji Dae-han Ji ... Detective Ji
Min Choi Min Choi ... Detective Choi
Ji-a Park Ji-a Park ... The Baby's Mother
Min-Young Song Min-Young Song ... The Baby
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Storyline

In the midst of the Korean wilderness, a Buddhist master patiently raises a young boy to grow up in wisdom and compassion, through experience and endless exercises. Once the pupil discovers his sexual lust, he seems lost to contemplative life and follows his first love, but soon fails to adapt to the modern world, gets in jail for a crime of passion and returns to the master in search of spiritual redemption and reconciliation with karma, at a high price of physical catharsis... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea | Germany

Language:

Korean

Release Date:

28 May 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$42,561, 4 April 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,380,788, 10 October 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

When the middle-aged man comes back to the monastery after murdering his wife, he is seen taking the rowboat alone to shore to vent his anger. His former master inexplicably appears behind a rock on the shore watching him, despite his clothes being fully dry and the only boat having been already taken. See more »

Quotes

Old Monk: Lust awakens the desire to possess. And that awakens the intent to murder.
See more »

Alternate Versions

SPOILER:
  • The missing sequence is placed just before the final shot of the film. After the shot of child monk in the rowboat, in the cut scenes the child monk is shown putting stones into the mouths of a fish, a frog, and a snake; these scenes emphasize the film's themes of the circularity of life. The film then continues to its final scene of the Buddha statue on the hill.
See more »

Connections

References The Isle (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Jeongseon Arirang
Traditional
Performed by Kim Young Im
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Perfect Simplicity
17 November 2004 | by grahamersSee all my reviews

Perfect Simplicity

My review of this film should end with those two words. However, the 10 line minimum requirement that IMDb requires of all reviews belies the differences between my world and the world shown to me in Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring. I understand why IMDb does not want 1000's of (apparently) useless two-word reviews in their database. However, I would hope that they could make an exception for this film.

Perfect: The film is as close to perfect as a film could get. No shot is presented to us, nor a line of dialog uttered that does not make us ponder and understand at the same time. The film is also beautiful. (Like the previous reviewer, I am a fan of Asian cinema and never tire of the stunning ability of Asian directors to capture beauty on film.) This film exceeds most other Asian films I have seen in the cinematography regard. However, its beauty is surprisingly deceptive. Like most great films, it surpasses the 'cinematography' level of beauty and delves into the beauty of existence through its story. For example, the Old Monk has a different pet during each 'season' of his life. This is not discussed by the characters nor shoved in our face by the director – as would have been done if Hollywood had done this film. It is merely background we experience and come to understand. Two days after viewing the film, I am still finding new reflections in my mind that encompass the cinematography, the literal story and the underlying context of the film.

Simplicity: This film approaches a level of cinematic Haiku. While I don't recall the entire dialog with any specificity, I am sure you could print the script on one page of paper. The amazing part is that while you are watching the film, you don't notice this. Every shot moves the story along. The simplicity of life as shown by the story is reflected in the simplicity of the film. After the film ended, I had a strong urge to move away from civilization and live – or die – in peace with nature. I enjoy (and have come to be too dependent upon) modern inventions, so I will stay at home. However, this film will remain in my heart. It does exactly what good story-telling is supposed to do: Take us completely out of our world and put us in another. There is no wonder that this film was selected for so many film festivals.


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