How about witnessing a simple and yet moving film with elemental spirit of changing seasons in its full circle!!!
Hats off to Korean film maker Kim Ki-duk for mystically using the changing seasons in a possibly simple and yet a fine symbolic and emotional way like witnessing a live fable. This is a film which you love to cherish forever in your film watching experience. The natural visuals and images of the film are so soothing that you fall in love with all of the places where the film is shot. Watching this film is really a refined transcendental experience for me and I assure you that it gives the same feeling if you have even a little bit side of aesthetic sense inside you.
It’s more a fine landscape portrait which completes the full cycle of seasons metaphorically set with the story of a monk searching for his destiny. In his lifetime he encompasses the journey full of its various shades of cruelty, lust, jealousy, violence until finally, he finds Peace within himself and the world around him. The story is told more with images and most felt and heard silence while keeping minimum possible dialogues or characters. Along with the changing of the season we also witness the changes of the boy monk’s various life stages- childhood, adolescence, adulthood and middle age. The high moment for me is the childhood part where he experiments his curiosity with fish, frog and snake and a fine practical lesson taught by his master where he meets natural repentance.
Cinematography is the ‘Soul’ of the film and the whole film was beautifully shot at the single place showing the changing of the season cycle. I still wonder has Ki-duk used CGI or realistic nature while showing those freezing frames of river, waterfall or spring in ‘winter’ part. The film is full of visual symbols focusing Buddhist Philosophy if you watch it with closer look.
Ki-duk’s films have received almost standing ovation and high critical acclaim at every International Film Festivals, including awards from Cannes, Berlin and Locarno Film Festivals. I would surely love to catch his ‘Crocodile’ and ‘The Birdcage Inn’ as soon as possible.
It’s not a film but a journey not to miss.