Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... And Spring review

Renowned for his movies' explicit sexual violence, Korean director Kim Ki-Duk (Bad Guy, The Isle) casts off his renegade reputation to deliver a magical fable.

A contemplative film that matches the stages of man's existence to the passing of nature's seasons, its dreamlike setting is a gleaming lake. On its waters float a Buddhist temple. And in that temple live an elderly monk (Oh Young-Su) and his child pupil (Seo Jae-kyeong). The rest of the movie is similarly uncomplicated, following the turbulent passage of the pupil's life without ever moving away from this enclosed world.

Spring, Summer riffles through the whole gamut of human experience: pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, guilt and atonement, death and rebirth. And Ki-Duk, who takes a key acting role, fuses style and content to achieve a sense of serenity through ravishing landscapes, calm pacing and the impressive elegance of his pared-down storytelling.

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