Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring is by Kim Ki-duk and the cast includes Su Oh-yeong, Kim Jong-ho, Kim Young-min and Seo Jae-kyung. The film is set in a peaceful Korean valley and most of the action takes place out on a lake on which floats a monastery where an old monk and his young dependent are living a serious existence. Each section of the film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring commences with the opening of a wooden gated threshold that stands at the headwaters of the lake like a curtain on a stage.
In the season of spring the older monk played by Oh Young-soo teaches valuable lessons about the guilt and the nature of cruelty to the young monk played by Kim Jong-ho who lives with him as his student. The opening is simply told with little dialogue but has a couple of disturbing scenes to illustrate the lessons learned. The movie further shows the season of summer where the young student monk has grown up in to a teenager and must compete with his raging hormones when a woman leaves her ailing teenage daughter (Ha Yeo-jin) with the two monks to be cured, as well as find spiritual solace. While she is definitely cured, the only comfort she finds is in the arms of the young monk who learns that love is very hard, especially when you are trying to find spiritual purity.
The most powerful period in Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring is in autumn, and it deals with the return of the young monk (Kim Young-min), who left in frustration years before. Upon his return he has a difficult time with his old Buddhist ways and finds it hard to adjust in t that lifestyle again after he ha lived a very different life in the practical world. The old monk finds that he cannot calm him down and comes to the hopeless realization that he may have failed as both a monk and a guardian in his upbringing of the young man.
In winter, the young monk (now played by the director Kim Ki-duk) returns again years later to see if he is ready to discipline his life and attain a spiritual existence. Therefore, in the season of spring, the cycle of his spiritual purity starts all over.
The film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring raises questions about how we live our lives and how actions, like ripples in the waters of time, can have unexpected consequences years later. By depicting the life of one unnamed individual in ten-year snapshots over the course of his development from boyhood to maturity, Kim provides us with insight and an uncommon perspective. Romance turns to tragedy and regret leads to understanding. These things happen quickly on-screen, with the years elapsing in a heartbeat. By the end of the film, even though we do not know the main character's name, we feel that we have taken a long and rewarding journey at his side.