Six years after renouncing the secular world to solve the riddle of life and death, young Buddhist monk Beob-wun (Ahn Sung-ki) is still roaming the country without coming any closer to enlightenment. While riding a bus, he sees a recreant monk placed in a predicament because he does not have his identification. He helps out the monk, named Ji-san (Jeon Mu-song), and the two begin to travel together. Ji-san, who always has a bottle of booze on hand and even carries around a suicide pill, sometimes seems like an enlightened saint and at other times like a reprobate infected by secular life. At first, Beob-wun regards Ji-san’s eccentricities as mere outward show and despises him for it, but he increasingly senses an extraordinariness about his traveling companion. After repeated meetings and partings, the two monks settle down at a small temple deep in the mountains. While climbing up to the temple one day in an inebriated state, Ji-san falls asleep in the snow and freezes to death. Beob-wun burns Ji-san’s remains and seeks out his own mother (Park jung-ja). He also meets Ok-sun, a woman Ji-san had never gotten over. His meetings reaffirm the futility of all secular relationships, and young Beob-wun sets off on his ascetic path once more. —Korean Film Archive
He began his filmmaking career as prop assistant to the lighting assistant, going through the traditional apprenticeship system of Chungmuro to become a film director. And in 1962, he made his directorial debut with Farewell Tumen River (Dumangang-a Jal Itgeora), an action film that deals with the plight of the Independence Army of Manchuria. He made Weeds(Jabcho), Mismatched Nose (Jjagko), and The Family Pedigree (Jogbo) during the 1970s and with his movies of the 1980s, Kilsodeum(Gilsotteum), Ticket (Tiket), Surrogate Mother (Ssibat-i) and Mandara (Mandala), gradually became recognized for his artistry and craftsmanship. He met Lee Tae-won and began working with Taeheung Film Studios starting with his 1989 film Come, Come, Come, Upward (Aje Aje Bara Aje) and continued to work consistently with the studio from then on. He achieved box office success with his The General’s Son (Janggun-ui adeul) series and became a nationally recognized figure with the then unparalleled box office success… read more
'All I have left are my faded monk clothes. We are people who try to catch fish without a net. The road that connects everything, follow that road. I've sweated blood for ten years. The road is far. It is morning. When I look around, ahh, I'm at the starting point again. The Buddha that appeared tonight made my mind go blank and the futility of it all makes me drink. Makes me drink.'
“Heaven and earth cannot cover its body, mountains and rivers cannot hide its light . . . no scholar can describe it, the intellectuals cannot know it, the literati and writers cannot recognize it… read review