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.
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.
LOBO HOWLS: 8