Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring

Exotic, beautiful fable from Korea

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
Kim Ki-duk, known here for the symbolic-fishhook stomach-flipper THE ISLE, grabs this ironic disconnect with both hands in SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER . . . AND SPRING, and ends up with a meta-Buddhist fable, entirely concerned with the quotidian of work and human vice, and in total thrall to the philosophy's poetic juxtapositions. All the same, this utterly lovely film hard-sells an audiovisual ideal of meditational tranquility that could produce some converts as well as tourists to Kyungsang; the hackles of the devout might also stiffen once they learn that Kim invented most of the rituals and totems himself. (He was, he says, raised as a Christian.) Like THE ISLE, the film focuses entirely on a shelter floating on a lake—in this case, a hermitage on man-made Jusan Pond, surrounded by lush woodland. The shrine is inhabited by a wizened monk (Oh Young-soo) and his grade-school-age protégé (Kim Jong-ho); with each of the five seasonal chapters, anywhere between 10 to 15 years pass. The arc belongs to the boy (embodied in the last, grown-up chapters by the director himself), for whom everything turns out to be a koan-esque metaphor for human folly and life's resulting tribulations. After the tyke impishly tortures small forest creatures by tying stones to them, his mentor ties a rock to the boy's torso, a physical trial that recurs and, as in DOGVILLE's penultimate affront, suggests both self-destructive burden and entrapment. As the years pass, the ordeals escalate, but neither the old man nor the filmmaker passes judgment. (Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice)

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring

Free show!

Sponsored by The Colorado Daily and The Performing Arts and Cultural Enrichment Fee

Wed September 8, 2004, 7:00 & 9:00, Muenzinger Auditorium

Korea, 2003, in Korean with English subtitles, color, 103 min., Rated R. • official site



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