Film #105: WHY HAS BODHI DHARMA LEFT FOR THE EAST?
Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left For The East?
3 stars of 5 stars
A very slow and somber bookend to Ki-Duk Kim’s wonderful SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER, SPRING that, while visually stunning, stumbles at the finish line. The tale of three secluded monks (one elderly, one in his 20s, and one a child) and their pursuit of enlightenment, the film suffers from an almost melancholic tone that becomes all too pervasive. Director Bae Yonh-kyun (a renown painter) took seven years to make this film, producing, writing, shooting, and hand editing it on his own. The acting is good and – again – the visuals are like something out of a postcard book, but… the film’s inherent lack of joy makes it a tough 2 ½ hour viewing (especially for those uninitiated into Buddhism and it’s precepts). Worth seeing, but I strongly suggest seeing Ki-duk Kim’s SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER, SPRING first.