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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

Official submission of South Korea for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 76th Academy Awards in 2004. 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: Didn't you know beforehand how the world of men is? Sometimes we have to let go of the things we like. What you like, others will also like."
See more »

Alternate Versions

The local Korean version of this film is approximately 90 seconds longer than the International release; a sequence was removed near the end of the film (at about the 100-minute point). This is reflected in the DVD releases, as the Tartan R2 (UK) release and the Columbia/Tristar R1 (USA) release use the International cut of the film, while the Bitwin R3 (Korean) DVD uses the original cut. See more »

Connections

References Seom (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Jeongseon Arirang
Traditional
Performed by Kim Young Im
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A gentler addition to Kim's compendium of sexual obsession
7 January 2005 | by j30bellSee all my reviews

SPOILER: Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn …and Spring is something of a self conscious art-house film. Possibly Kim Ki-duk is trying to work off his reputation for making movies replete with violent sexual imagery, but he's not fooling anyone. Spring… contains – admittedly in a much more restrained form – most of the themes from his earlier works, The Isle and Bad Guy. Onto this, however, is pasted a hefty dose of Buddhist teaching. Or, from another perspective, an interesting juxtaposition of old and new.

Beginning in the Spring of an undefined year close to the present, the film is set on (and I mean, on) an isolated lake. A child acolyte lives out a life of quiet contemplation, punctuated by occasional acts of petty animal cruelty. His master, a monk, observes his young charge with increasing disapproval and orders him to undo his evil or face the consequences in his own life. It soon becomes apparent that he means this in anything but the figurative sense.

Moving through the seasons, Kim explores the "cycle of life"; with his acolyte experiencing youthful love (or lust), anger, violence and finally acceptance, contrition and peace. The film ends with a new acolyte and a new cycle: implying an endless repetition with subtle variation.

Spring… is not exactly a subtle film, but it is beautifully done. Kim uses silence like few other filmmakers, matching Kurosawa or Bergman at their best. He punctuates these long slow movements with abrupt changes in tempo – such as the arrival of Yeo. The pace quickens and the mood changes. The courtship of the adolescent boy and girl are some of the gentlest scenes in cinema (though culminating in a suitably Kim-like, energetic coupling).

With popular Buddhist and Confucian ideas now so firmly established in cinema (thanks in part to their bastardisation by George Lucas), the ideas in this film aren't exactly going to leave its audience in need of a large glass of perspective and soda (to quote Douglas Adams). Lust leads to possessive urges, which lead to violence; ones violent actions lead on to violence against oneself; peace (and redemption) is found not through approbation, but understanding oneself.

I can't quite dispel the notion that The Isle, with its sly humour and darker plot is a better film, or that Spring… is, if not completely then at least partially, up the bottom of its own artiness. That said, it is a very, very pretty film. Its story is intelligent, if not awe-inspiring, and it is a delightful change of pace from most modern cinema. Most of all, it is probably one of Kim's most accessible films, and I shall certainly be watching it again – if only to see Oh Yeong-su practising his calligraphic art with the tail of a live cat. 7/10.


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