I really like this film, I give it 9 out of 10. I like it because I am very intrigued, yet I am still searching and do not feel satisfied because I do not fully grasp what the director is trying to convey. In the beginning of this class, I think satisfied, certain, fulfilling isagood feeling. At this point, I almost start to appreciate this sense of wondering and searching and not satisfied.
I like how the story is not carried out in a typical "Buddhism"way and the use of a lot of symbols. I particularly like two: the doors and the animals. There are doors inside the little temple without walls, and again there is a door by the lake entrance without walls. Normally we create doors in connection with walls to have separation, as well as granting access. Why do we even need doors when there is no wall? I noticed people always use the doors, even when they are in a hurry, they would stop, open the door and walk over. Other than one time, the young monk is trying to get to the girl and does not want to wake up the master, he escaped without opening the door. I think the invisible walls means rules, norms, laws or even beliefs. They are invisible but they are guiding us and restraining us, unless the temptation is so huge that we would circumvent them. Doors are the access, path, declaration of property. I found it interesting when in the winter the young monk returns after serving his term in jail and he changed the door by the lake. The two guards painted on the door was changed to two big muscle guys, which represents that the temple changed owner, and now he is the ruler.
I also like the animal components. In the summer they live with a rooster, and when the young monk decided to leave the temple, he brought the rooster with him. Then in the fall there is a cat, and the old monk used the cat tail to write the lection which serves punishment, forgiveness and reborn for the young monk. Then in the winter where was a snake, when the old monk died the snake occupied the temple until the young monk returned. I do not know exactly what each of them represents but I get the sense of the power of nature, our animal nature. We tortured the weak ones when we have the power, we all have the drive from hunger, from sex, and we can forgive and accompany each other.
The movie carries a lot of artistic value in my eyes. The pictures are breathtaking beautiful, the monk chanting music is powerful, and it is true even when there is no music (when in the end the young monk was carrying the Buddha and a weight to redeem himself). It is still hard for me to convince myself to sit down for 2 hours and watch a film like this in a normal weekend but I do enjoy the experience after doing it.