Monday, March 19, 2007

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (2003, Kim Ki-Duk)

"This film takes place in an isolated lake, where an old monk lives on a small floating temple. The wise master has also a young boy with him that teaches to become a monk. And we watch as seasons and years pass by"

This is my first exposure to Kim Ki-Duk and I can see why he is so deeply loved by a lot film buffs and critics. This film is just so beautiful and captivating that it's really hard to not fully immerse yourself in the story and characters.

The film is told through 5 segments. Each being a season and each taking place in a different point in the life of these characters. Also, the film is mostly told through visuals and little to no dialogue. You would think that this would make the film seem slow and boring but instead adds a sense of loneliness,beauty, and intensity to everything. Since the story is told through visuals and seasons nature and animals also play a huge part in the film.

The thing that I loved about Spring,Summer,Fall,Winter...and Spring is the sense of depth we get to these characters when there really is no actual depth. Well, at least not the type we are used to. Any and all depth is mainly told through the actors faces and these 5 short windows we get into the lives of these people. It all works perfectly though. Kim Ki-Duk is somehow able to create fully fleshed out characters who we actually care for and feel for.

I simply just loved the film. I find visual filmmaking to be some of the hardest to pull off without becoming boring or losing the viewers connection to the film. This is the frequent problem I have had with Terrence Malick, arguably the most famous visual filmmaker right now. I feel that most of his films, except for Badlands, are visually breathtaking but feel empty and at the end of the movie I find myself respecting the film but not really enjoying it.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring however manages to avoid all these flaws. It's a film that takes chances and it's a film that sounds like it might be too artsy or boring but comes off as anything but those two things. It's a captivating film that will stay with you for a very long time.

- ****

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