Marc Vera
September 10, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Director-star Kim’s newest film succinctly packages the four seasons as metaphors for the stages of life. The simple tale follows the solemn existence of a Buddhist monk and his young pupil — through playful innocence (spring), adolescent lust (summer), contemptuous rage (fall), redemption (winter), and ultimately rebirth (spring) — with a secluded mountain lake providing the serene backdrop. Attention to detail is Kim’s forte: Every sound is clearly articulated, whether it’s the slither of a snake through fallen leaves or the plunge of an oar into water. The wistful soundtrack meshes sublimely with the visual narration, conveying a deeper sense of the pupil’s trials.

EXTRAS None, but the images relate the story so elegantly that even subtitles aren’t necessary (though they are included).

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