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Time Out says
This breakthrough film by South Korea's best known director is a leisurely, chiefly lyrical account of the friendship between two notably different Buddhist monks - Pobun, a somewhat pessimistic young ascetic fleeing the commitment demanded by his girlfriend, and the old Jisan, whose unorthodox preference for alcohol and an active sex life belie an easy-going wisdom repressed by his stricter, seemingly more devout peers. The film also works as an unexpectedly tough appraisal of the tenets and practices of a living philosophy. Woolly mindedness and poetic overkill are, on the whole, avoided, while enlightenment is presented as often resulting from - or leading to - loneliness, masochism and self-denial. A film whose spiritual integrity is reflected in the mantric calm of its measured rhythms and elegant imagery, it's nevertheless rooted in a recognisably modern, material world, so that you don't need a special interest in Buddhism for its quiet virtues to work their spell.