Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and...Spring

Director: Kim Ki-duk
Screenwriters: Kim Ki-duk

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Shot entirely around a floating monastery on a beautiful remote lake in the mountains, Kim Ki-duk's serene rumination on the cycles of life follows the spiritual evolution of one man from boyhood to old age, drawing from the sparsest elements a resonant experience of joy, sorrow, anger, and enlightenment.

When a young monk, only a boy, is found gleefully tying stones to a fish, a frog, and a snake, his master binds a rock to the child's back and instructs him to set each animal free. The master warns that if any creature has died, the boy will carry that stone in his heart forever. Thus commences a journey that will pass through four more stages in accordance with the seasons of the monk's life: from love and temptation as a teenager to a terrible misstep and a crime, through his subsequent search for peace of heart, and ultimately to maturity, whereupon he assumes the role of master himself.

Anchored by the compelling and sometimes funny relationship between master and pupil, the film finds its pace in their daily regimen, and in the gentle rhythms of nature. Even for those unfamiliar with Buddhism's monastic rituals and its conception of duality, the fleeting sense of wholeness and self-realization is transcendent.

— John Nein

Screening Details

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