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Afterwards there will be a discussion with Tenzin Namsel about the movie’s Buddhist themes.

Tenzin Namsel is an American Buddhist monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Over the years, Namsel has developed his Buddhist studies and Practice with a variety of well-respected and learned masters within the four main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, though primarily with his root teachers, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Namsel is gifted in expressing these age-old wisdom teachings in a manner that is accessible to all. It is with great fortune that Namsel will visit to teach on Martha’s Vineyard.


Korean director Kim Ki-duk’s Buddhism-inspired fable takes place on a placid lake nestled among hills on which floats a small, one-room monastery housing two monks, one old and one young. The action takes place over the course of several years, and is divided into five sections denoted by the seasons of the title. While each section tells a story of its own, the overall plot follows the education of the younger monk, a small boy in the beginning, as he learns lessons over the course of his life from his aging counterpart. Troubled outsiders also visit the monastery seeking guidance, including an ill young woman and a man who murdered his wife. As the title suggests, the film’s ultimate theme is cyclical renewal. Just as the seasons pass through phases of birth and death and rebirth, so do the lives of Kim’s characters.



“The impression this movie leaves is profound: Here is an artist who sees things whole.”

–Peter Rainer, New York Magazine


“Kim Ki Duk, in this exquisitely simple movie, manages to isolate something essential about human nature and at the same time to comprehend the scope of human experience.”

–A.O. Scott, New York Times