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...
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 »
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 »
At South Korea's border with the North, troops guard the coast. Each bullies those ranking beneath him; tensions are high. PFC Kang and his friend Private Kim are on patrol when drinking ... 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
The inscription on the floor is "The Heart Sutra", one of the most important Sutra of Mahayana Buddhism, written in literary Chinese. See more »
When the young monk finishes inscribing the Heart Sutra on the floor and falls down exhausted, the inscriptions below him change between shots (even though he is lying motionless). In one shot, the inscriptions he is lying on have been painted; and as he wakes up, the paint is gone. 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.
I'm constantly amazed by the appearance of some seemingly off-the-wall piece of art that when you view it evokes a stunning effect. The simplicity of this film, its low-key action and pace, its visual surrealistic beauty, all interact to create an emotional impression that is long-lasting and thought-provoking. Korea has been somewhat slower to enter the international cinematic world and here is a film with actors whose names stir little or no recognition. For myself, who has enjoyed the Korean films I've seen before, it was a delightful surprise. The film itself is a wonderful tapestry of Korean Buddhist culture, with quiet visual beauty, simple moral themes and human passions put into a simple, homespun perspective. The remarkable natural setting which reflects the wide spectrum of Korea's seasons, which range from hot, sticky humid-fraught summers to icy, cold snow-bound winters, become a metaphor of life with unadorned figures, completely human in form. The old monk becomes a witness to the interplay of human qualities, without judgment yet with a complete and quiet moral presence. The foibles of child cruelty is met with a simple retribution which imparts a lasting lesson. Judgment is always withheld and warnings are given simply. The effect of all of this rings long and lasting, much like the impression of a delicate Korean silk print: simple in design with plain brush strokes and stylized representations of nature-- yet, lasting in impression, often to the point of being unforgettable. I buy few videos and DVDs, preferring to see things I really enjoyed again and again. But, I've ordered this one.
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