Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter . . . and Spring

Director: Kim Ki-duck

South Korea-German| 2003. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 102 min.

Having established a reputation as the ‘angry young man’ of modern Korean cinema with films such as The Isle and Bad Boy, director Kim Ki-duck (whose new film, 3-Iron, is showing also in this programme) surprised everyone with this sublime meditation on the life cycle. As the title suggests, the film is divided into four sections and a coda, with each season representing a different phase in the life of a young boy who lives with a wizened old monk on a shelter floating on a beautiful lake. Covering a time span of more than a decade, the film consists of a series of strikingly composed scenes depicting the protagonist’s progress from innocence through love and evil to enlightenment and rebirth. It’s a Buddhist fable about the tension between spiritual righteousness and physical gratification.

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