Find the list here: The Top 250 Films List Total Films Watched: 250/250

Monday, 11 February 2013

#240 - 'Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring' (2003)

"Lust awakens the desire to possess. And that awakens the intent to murder." - Old Monk.
Korean cinema is an area I have never ventured into before. 'Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring' is an interesting 'coming-of-age' tale about a monk and his apprentice. On a floating temple in the middle of a lake, the master teaches his young apprentice the ways of the monk. As he grows older, the apprentice begins to change. When a young woman is brought to the temple to be healed, the apprentice gives in to his sexual desires. Once she is better, she leaves the temple. Will the apprentice be able to live without his love?
The temple on the lake.
The film is split into five sections, unsurprisingly they are: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring. It chronicles the life of the apprentice, through childhood, learning valuable life lessons, love, loss and desperation. Each section was introduced with a title card, followed by the doors to the temple opening and the camera floating through. Each season holds a differing appearance, most strikingly the iced over lake in 'Winter'. When the young girl is brought the temple it is no surprise that the apprentice is attracted to her - having been cooped up with only an elder male as company.
The young girl who is brought to the temple.
There is a lot of symbolism, particularly with animals. Rituals and meditation also have a big part to play too, unsurprisingly. The writing of a Buddhist sutra to cleanse the apprentices' wrongdoings is steeped in religious belief. The belief that by reciting the sutra by carving it out with a knife will go some way towards controlling the apprentice's rage. I am not a religious person in the slightest so I found the constant praying and whatnot a bit distracting. Obviously the film aimed at a religious culture of which I am not familiar so I will put this down to my ignorance rather than being a slight on the film. 
The master daubing Buddhist symbols with his cat's tail. As you do.
I did enjoy the film, although I thought some parts dragged. This is another genre of film that I have been introduced to during this challenge and it has made me feel less wary of trying new things film wise. 

Up Next #239:

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