Made completely outside the Korean film industry, this was a four-year labour of love for Bae, a 38-year-old teacher of painting. The title (an unanswerable zen riddle) gives a fair indication of his purpose and methods, which have nothing to do with drama but everything to do with Frommian notions of self-realisation and spiritual fulfillment. A zen master on the verge of physical death has two disciples, a young monk and an orphaned boy novice; the film shows their ascetic lives in a mountain retreat, and traces a cycle of death and rebirth that seems to guide the two disciples towards enlightenment. Of course, hardly anything happens in action terms. But the photography (worthy of Ansel Adams) and the imagery cast a potent spell, and the film comes as close as any other movie of the '80s to expressing the inexpressible.