An old Buddhist master watches over two young protégés - a boy and an adult male - in a small cabin far away from humanity. There are countless striking images in this - it reportedly took the director seven years to make it - and was a labor of love, but it's safe to say that pretty much 'nothing' happens in the film (aside from one death which is predictable from the beginning) - it just drifts along until it finds a suitable place to stop, keeping with the basic principles of the religion and the belief in being mindful and of the infinite flow of life. It's very similar to Kim Ki-Duk's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring, but I found enough of a narrative and structure to that film to really fall in love with it - this is far more nonlinear and dreamlike and also far more difficult to really 'get into.' Jonathan Rosenbaum is correct in saying that the drama is supposed to develop 'internally,' but I walked away only slightly dazed and hardly enlightened. Sensations will vary per person.
Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?
Director: Bae Yong-Kyun
Year Released: 1989