A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
In the midst of the Korean wilderness, a Buddhist master patiently raises a young boy to grow up in wisdom and compassion, through experience and endless exercises. Once the pupil discovers his sexual lust, he seems lost to contemplative life and follows his first love, but soon fails to adapt to the modern world, gets in jail for a crime of passion and returns to the master in search of spiritual redemption and reconciliation with karma, at a high price of physical catharsis... Written by
I'm constantly amazed by the appearance of some seemingly off-the-wall piece of art that when you view it evokes a stunning effect. The simplicity of this film, its low-key action and pace, its visual surrealistic beauty, all interact to create an emotional impression that is long-lasting and thought-provoking. Korea has been somewhat slower to enter the international cinematic world and here is a film with actors whose names stir little or no recognition. For myself, who has enjoyed the Korean films I've seen before, it was a delightful surprise. The film itself is a wonderful tapestry of Korean Buddhist culture, with quiet visual beauty, simple moral themes and human passions put into a simple, homespun perspective. The remarkable natural setting which reflects the wide spectrum of Korea's seasons, which range from hot, sticky humid-fraught summers to icy, cold snow-bound winters, become a metaphor of life with unadorned figures, completely human in form. The old monk becomes a witness to the interplay of human qualities, without judgment yet with a complete and quiet moral presence. The foibles of child cruelty is met with a simple retribution which imparts a lasting lesson. Judgment is always withheld and warnings are given simply. The effect of all of this rings long and lasting, much like the impression of a delicate Korean silk print: simple in design with plain brush strokes and stylized representations of nature-- yet, lasting in impression, often to the point of being unforgettable. I buy few videos and DVDs, preferring to see things I really enjoyed again and again. But, I've ordered this one.
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