Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? (1989)

Genres - Drama, Action, Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Religious Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 23, 1989 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 137 min.  |   Countries - Korea, South  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Sandra Brennan

The title refers to a Zen riddle for which there is no answer. Noted painter Bae Yong-kyun spent several years devoted to carefully and lovingly creating this challenging, meditative and exquisitely photographed film. A young man aspires to the priestly life and so travels to a remote mountain hermitage to study under an aged Zen Master whose corporeal days are numbered. The master lives alone there with a small orphan boy. As the days slowly pass, the master occasionally shares his wisdom with his followers. Much time is spent following the boy as he learns about the nature of life in the smallest of ways. Sometimes the older acolyte has brief memories of the past he recently left.



animal, beauty [physical], birds, boy, Buddhism, burn, ceremony, coffin, corpse, death, decision, disciple, dream, elderly, health, hermit, introspection, master [expert], medical, memory, monk, mother, natural, nature, obligation, orphan, philosophy, pool [billiards], prayers, religion, stream, temple, unconscious, visit, water, wisdom, woods [place], Zen-Buddhism, city, cow, East, life, man, mountains, return, time, youth


High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance