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Movie Review: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring

Alternate Title: A Zen for All Seasons

Story: Zen-sational (I could not resist writing that one)! Every now and Zen (oops, I did it again) a film comes along that is absorbing, simple and wonderfully entertaining. This is such a film.

Korean director Kim Ki-duk (The Isle and Bad Guy) parallels the stages in a man's life through the seasons of the year. Each chapter (season) is a life lesson learned. The lessons include suffering, loss, sadness, compassion, love, respect, transformation and redemption.

Filmed entirely in the area of a floating Buddhist shrine located in the magnificent Korean Juwangsen National Park we are treated to a visual delight. The scenery can only be imagined in one's most peaceful dream. A young man's life journey is skillfully addressed with a minimum of dialogue.

Finding grace is not simple. Some people are blessed with it from birth and some people have to struggle with a lifelong search. Enhance your search and go see this film.

Acting: Fine 'less is more' acting by all. Director Kim Ki-duk appears in the final chapters.

Predilection: None.

Critters: I was hesitant to see this film because I heard that there was some animal cruelty depicted on film. But my curiosity overtook that fear (and I am glad that it did). On film the animals are a large part of the story. They include fish, snakes, frogs, a dog, ducks, a chicken, a turtle and one mighty terrific white cat.

Food: Monks do not eat very much. The only intake I saw was some herbal tea.

Visual Art: Lots of calligraphy, sculpture and a splendid natural landscape.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: At times the track was annoyingly cloying.

Opening Titles: Simple (as one would expect).

Theater Audience: About ten low key viewers.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 3 (I was worried about the animals).

Predictability Level: High.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Perhaps

Nit Picking: Some part of the parable clubbed you over the head. A tad more subtlety would have been appreciated.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen (if you can find it).

Length: Under two hours.