Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring
An old monk educates a child in a one-room Buddhist monastery floating in the middle of a lake in Korea. In spring, the boy torments a fish, a frog and a snake by tying heavy stones to them. The old monk does the same thing to the child, warning that he will always carry such a burden in his heart. When we next see the boy, he is an adolescent. In summer, a girl comes to the monastery to convalesce. She and the young monk are gradually drawn to each other and begin a relationship. The old monk discovers them, and decides that the girl is well enough to go home. The young monk follows her. When he returns in autumn, he is 30 and has murdered his unfaithful wife in a fit of passion. He attempts suicide, but the elderly monk helps him conquer despair by having him carve a sutra. Two policemen arrive, but are persuaded to let him complete the task before arresting him. Alone again, the old monk commits suicide. It is winter when the man, now middle-aged, returns. He begins restoring the deserted monastery. A woman brings her baby; as she leaves it behind, she falls through the ice and drowns. In spring, the man - himself now an old monk - raises the boy as he himself was raised.
1hr 45mins long