Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…Spring (2003)

Dir. Ki-duk Kim
103 minutes

Reid Said:
June 13, 2004 at 1:57 am

(5 out of 10)

A visual and poetic movie that is myth-like. There are many beautiful images represent important symbols and meaning in this film. (I can see how the film stayed with you, Chris.) I say this, without really haven’t thought very deeply or identified these symbols. Maybe if I did, I would like this film a bit more. (It seems like a film that Joseph Campbell fans would like.)

From my viewing, I sort of felt like the themes and images were a bit cliched or even banal. I don’t know if the movie shed any new light or at least provided a different insight or angle into these themes.

The film seems to deal with human weakeness and ways in which people try to effectively deal with these weaknesses, often in some act of penance. I think I might not have enjoyed this film enough because I didn’t invest enough of myself into it.

Chris Magnusson Said:
June 22, 2004 at 6:49 am

As for *Spring, Summer . . . *, I can agree with your criticisms Reid, but I enjoyed the unpredictability of the plot if not the ideas. I think one reason I enjoyed the movie was for the visual de-programming effect it had: very little scene change, slow movement, slow camera work. It was like being in a solemn church service and emerging awake and refreshed; or like the charms (for me) of good minimalist music (like some John Adams or Steve Reich) or art (like Rothko).

Reid Said:
June 22, 2004 at 8:45 pm


I think if I was more in the right frame of mind I could have enjoyed the movie more. Actually, if I sat down and delved into the imagery and symbolism of the film, I suspect I would like it a lot more. It might be interesting to think about the Buddhist viewpoint in the film differs from a Christian one. (Then again, it might not lead to anything interesting at all.

kevin Said:
October 16, 2004 at 7:45 pm

It’s beautiful. There seemed to be something reassuring to me about the timelessness of this struggle & journey, from self-centeredness towards a kind of centeredness, but one not about self, that’s strangely comforting, like we’re not alone in doing so. It’s somewhat Buddhist in its cyclical nature, but not in a way that I think excludes Christian theology about dying to self.

The Wind Will Carry Us reminds me a bit about this too. Both movies resonated with me, as if the expansiveness of both (in the first one temporal, the other one spatial) shows the hand of God directing us to where beauty is found, in choosing life. The final image of the director riding w/ the doctor on the moped through the meadows still sticks w/ me.

Reid Said:
October 16, 2004 at 8:46 pm

As for Spring…, I really think that I should see that again. The film does have some beautiful images, and I feel like I might like it more a second time around. As for the Buddhist notion of “dying to the self,” I think it’s totally compatible with Christianity.

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