Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring

(Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom, South Korea, 2003)

A small boy and a Buddhist monk live together on a tiny temple floating on a lake. The boy amuses himself by tying a rock to a fish, then a frog, then a snake. The master observes this, then ties a big rock to the boy’s back while he sleeps. When he wakes, he is told he must find the animals and release them or he will carry a stone in his heart all his life. The boy finds the animals, but the fish and the snake are dead. He cries. Okay. This is a little fable even one so spiritually challenged as I can understand. After that it gets a lot murkier as the boy grows. But so does life, right? The film is incredibly beautiful and visually simple, and surprised me several times. As for recommending it … I’m going to rate it as “the sound of one hand clapping,” and let you figure it out.