Jae-Young is an amateur prostitute who sleeps with men while her best friend Yeo-Jin "manages" her, fixing dates, taking care of the money and making sure the coast is clear. When Jae-Young... See full summary »
On a fishing boat at sea, a 60-year old man has been raising a girl since she was a baby. It is agreed that they will get married on her 17th birthday, and she is 16 now. They live a quiet and secluded life, renting the boat to day fishermen and practicing strange divination rites. Their life changes when a teenage student comes aboard...
Romances end in blood and the frail hopes of individuals are torn apart in a vile karmic continuity of colonialism, civil war and occupation. After surviving Japanese colonization, Korea ... See full summary »
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
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 »
Lust awakens the desire to possess. And that awakens the intent to murder.
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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.
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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