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

Cast: Oh Yeong-su, Oh Yeong-su, Kim Ki-Duk, more...
Director: Kim Ki-Duk, Kim Ki-Duk
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Rating:
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Korea
Running Time: 102 min.
Languages: Korean
Subtitles: English, French
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Synopsis
Korean director Kim Ki-duk's Buddhism-inspired fable takes place on a placid lake nestled among hills on which floats a small, one-room monastery housing two monks, one old and one young. The action takes place over the course of several years, and is divided into five sections denoted by the seasons of the title. While each section tells a story of its own, the overall plot follows the education of the younger monk, a small boy in the beginning, as he learns lessons over the course of his life from his aging counterpart. Troubled outsiders also visit the monastery seeking guidance, including an ill young woman and a man who murdered his wife. As the title suggests, the film's ultimate theme is cyclical renewal. Just as the seasons pass through phases of birth and death and rebirth, so do the lives of Kim's characters. ~ Tom Vick, All Movie Guide






From the pages of Film Comment and Cinema Scope to festivals in Berlin, Venice, and this year, Cannes, fans of Korean cinema are arguing, often furiously, about Kim Ki-duk. Jonathan Marlow talks with the director about, among many other things, how the "Kim Ki-duk style" plays in the US. Full Article >>

GreenCine Member Reviews

A Zen Portrayal by DNelson6 September 5, 2011 - 6:05 AM PDT
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The movie has very little dialogue and literally follows the characters for longer periods of time than we are used to in the west. I was confused by some of the imagery, but I assume a Korean would grasp its meaning, perhaps without explicit notice. For instance, I don't understand the significance of the paper over the ears, mouth, nose, and eyes proclaiming "Shut!" as a prelude to suicide. Even with those elements (maybe partially because of them), I found myself drawn into the portrayal of the cycle of life depicted in this movie. I was particularly struck with the transcendence of judgemental morality, a feature of zen conspicuously absent from western religion. If you have an interest in zen buddhism or are seeking a path or spiritual enlightenment, this film will capture your attention.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Boredom by notrust September 8, 2006 - 5:02 PM PDT
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0 out of 7 members found this review helpful
One of the slowest movies I have ever seen. I don't mind a story that develops slowly, as long as it goes somewhere, but this movie went literally nowhere. I suppose that was the point, but I was still pretty dissapointed.

Maybe I should not judge a Korean-made movie by the same standards as an American or French movie, since they don't have big budgets and world-class directors, actors and writers. So if that is the case, I apologize. But I still thought this movie was exceptionally dull.

I would have been thrilled just to find out where the the monk got his food and what he and the boy ate, but we are never shown. I'm not sure if the island floated around or was solid land, even knowing that would have been interesting.

The story the movie tells would easily fit into an illustrated 10 page children's book. And that's where it should have stayed. However, making it into a 2 hour movie is like trying to stretch the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears into an 8 part mini-series. There's just not enough material to here hold a normal viewer's attention for 2 hours.

However, if you don't care about dialog or a story and just want to watch the changing of the seasons at a pond in Korea for a couple of hours, with a man and a boy, some boat-rowing and a few lines of dialog thrown in, this is your movie. All others, take heed!

Life Lessons by talltale September 28, 2004 - 7:49 AM PDT
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9 out of 12 members found this review helpful
SSFW...& S, (as I'll refer, for the sake of space-saving, to this film's rather obvious title) is one gorgeous movie. Each segment is more beautiful than its predecessor, and if that were all, it would still be enough for a high recommendation. There's more. Not being a Buddhist, I know I missed some of the religion/philosophy angle but still understood enough to be moved and provoked. (I will always remember the child's experience with the fish, frog and snake, as well as his older self's grappling with sex.) This movie offers a unique understanding of life that I have not seen captured elsewhere on celluloid. Not the WHOLE of life, certainly, but more than you'll get from most "entertainments." And it will not bore you silly, as does a film like "Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East."

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(Average 7.50)
234 Votes
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