Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring (2003) - Korean Movie

Another stunningly shot beautiful movie from one of my favorite Korean Director "Kim Ki Duk". The best part of the movie other than being a visual treat for its audience, it hardly has any dialogues and its too easy to understand even if you do not get the subtitles. A fantastic message with the movie - how life comes full circle. I am totally bowled over again with this movie and loved it totally as how easily he has put in so much in a 100 minute movie without saying or preaching anything. Not at all surprised by those high ratings anywhere you read about it. Its based on the life of a Buddhist Monk - five seasons of his life shot in various stages of life at the same place - he stays in a floating monastery on a lake. The whole movie is shot at one place only and it’s beautiful how everything changes with the change in the season. I could imagine the effort they must have put in shooting the whole thing during those five seasons to show us the originality. One hell of an experience. Its a treat for all cinema lovers - one movie that I again will not be able to forget for quite a long time - thanks to those friends who referred this one to me.

The movie shows us a regular day in the life of a monk and a young boy who stays with him in a floating monastery in a very small lake in the mid of hilly region somewhere in Korea. The location is just fantastic, amazing is the feeling when you see the surrounding area; the aerial shots of the whole region are totally outstanding. First season we see is the spring, they use a small boat to go to the shore to pick up some herbs and vegetables, monk teaches everything to the kid as to how to make a medicine, what to eat and what not to. While the kid plays along, he ties a stone to a Fish, a Frog and even to a Snake - so they should not escape. To teach him a lesson, while he sleeps the monk ties a big stone tablet on his back and next day morning when he wakes up, he realizes his mistake and they both go again to set the fish, frog and snake free of the stone he tied previous day. It’s heartening to see that the Fish and Snake died but somehow the Frog survives. A kid cries over his mistake but learns a lesson. Season 2 is summer - The Kid is now in his teenage and as they go on with their regular lives they have a visitor in the form of a young girl and her mother. The girl is suffering from some disease and they visit the monk so he could cure her. As the mother leaves her with them, the kid and the girl finally fall in love and end up making love. Although the dude is sorry to have done that but the monk believes it’s natural and nothings wrong in that. But the problem starts when she is cured and her mother takes her away with her. The kid now an adult is unable to live without her and leaves the monk and the monastery in anger to find the girl and to stay with her. He goes off on his journey to get her back and the monk stays alone.

The Season changes to fall, finally he comes back after some time as girl gets married to someone else, he even tries to kill himself and is beaten badly by the monk to do that. Later two cops come down searching for him to take him along as he had actually killed his own wife before coming back to the monastery. Monk writes a scripture on the wooden floor of the monastery and requests them to let him carve it out with a knife before they take him away. They let him do that and later arrest him. While the kid goes off to pay the price of his crime - the monk kills himself by setting himself ablaze - i guess he holds himself responsible for the kid’s behavior and pays the price by taking his own life. He comes back after couple of years and it is winters now as you see the whole lake as frozen, as he looks for the monk - realizes that the monk is gone. Now he takes care of the monastery and trains himself as per the guidelines set by the monk in the book that he leaves behind. Amazing is the scenery and his practice session where he learns the art of self defense and lots of other stuff. One fine day - he has a visitor in the form of a woman whose face is covered with a very young kid. As she leaves the kid behind in the monastery - she accidentally falls in a ditch and goes inside the frozen lake and dies. Who’s this kid? Who was the female? Why did she leave the kid behind and what is that the young monk going to do with this kid - is something you've got to watch the movie for. Although the movie does leaves some questions unanswered in the end but still it holds the whole thing in too good a manner. I wish I could get those answers - I tried searching it on the net but they are left just like that.

It was an amazing experience to watch this one. A couple of my friends referred it to me with very high regard and now I know why. The entire movie is a spell binding experience shot in those 5 seasons - it’s a visual delight to say the least. Also from almost no background score to very good music - it’s an experience in itself. A must watch for all cinema lovers - it has a very good message in the end and it leaves you stunned for the most part of its running time. I had not seen what they have shown in this one in any of the movies I saw so far. I guess I am going to be hooked to "Kim Ki Duk's" various works now.

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