Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring, is a beautiful 2003 Korean film directed by Ki-duk Kim film. Deceptively simple, the movie presents to the viewer a modern Buddhist parable about life, the passions, sin, judgment, and redemption.
The direction of the film is stunning. The scenery can be awe-inspiring, and yet it never gets in the way of the story. Rather, it always works to further the film’s message. Kim is able to lead the viewer into his synthetic world, one which clearly acts as an allegory for the cycle of samsara; it presents to us the story of one life as the story of everyman. As the cycle itself is not fatalistic, the ending of the film, so similar to the beginning, has its differences to allow us to understand that our own life will be different. As with all allegories, we must question the meaning of the events as they are presented and try to discern what they are saying to us about our own life. Finally, we must ask, is there something better, something we can do to get ourselves out of this cycle?
The movie is rated R for some scenes of strong sensuality.