Essay about Buddhist Elements in the Film - "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring"

Words: 1980
Pages: 8

“Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring”

Film “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” unfolds a pastoral and spiritual journey in the serene and timeless Buddhist temple which is afloat on the lake surrounded by the deep mountains. Within the setting of such calm unworldliness, director Kim Ki-duk portrays the life of a
Buddhist monk from childhood to old age in the flow of four seasons. Kim depicts two important
Buddhist themes in his film; the development of karma and samsara in the cycle of seasons, and the path to nirvana through journey of penance, meditation, and self-discovery.

Theme #1 – Development of Karma and Samsara throughout a Cycle of Seasons

Firstly, the film portrays the
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Before the start of his journey, the protagonist is severely possessed by the worldliness and his desires. For instance, in the film, the two doors without walls draw a line between worldliness and unworldliness, and between bedroom and
Buddhist sanctum. Worldliness and bedroom arouse one‟s desires to conduct evil deeds, and the unworldliness and sanctum are places for meditation to bring inner peace. While there is no physical boundary, the protagonist and the old monk pass through the door frame to move in and out of places in order to strictly separate between the world and religious space. However, the protagonist, finding unavailable to use the door to approach the young lady in one night, passes through the „invisible‟ walls. His action blurred the line between bedroom and sanctum, and the whole temple becomes a place for his sexual desires. The sacred religious area that was once separated by the invisible boundary no longer exists to him, and the area has now become his place of worldliness. The rooster, which restlessly pecks on its feed with uncontrollable cravings, resembles the protagonist who craves physical intimacy with the young lady.

As the protagonist returns to the temple after murdering his cheating wife, he finally regrets