"Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the
Directed by Bae Yong-kyun
Selected by three
international film critics
as "One of the Ten Best Films of All Time" in the 1993 Sight & Sound Critics
Poll. "Spiritually and aesthetically, it's an extraordinary film. It will
repay you with beauty, an ethical imperative and a profound humanity." - Jay Carr, Boston
Globe. "A remarkable personal film...It evokes a contemplative experience
in a compelling style reminiscent of Ozu and Tarkovsky. Don't miss it." - Tricycle:
The Buddhist Review. Acclaimed by critics and audiences throughout the world, Why Has
Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? is simply one of the most ravishing films ever made.
In a remote monastery high up in the mountains an old master, a young monk and an
orphaned boy devote themselves to their Buddhist teachings. As the master
faces death, he must lead his disciples away from their past ties to the outside world and
its rapidly changing values, and point them toward their quest for enlightenment.
The title of the film is a Zen koan - an unanswerable riddle that is both a
challenge and an aid on the path to spiritual transformation. This
magnificent film, astonishingly rich in its formal beauty
and affirmation of life, is not only an extraordinary cinematic gem but a
transcendent evocation of the mystery and humanity of Zen Buddhism. Bae Yong-kyun spent 10 years crafting this beautiful film and won the Golden
Lion award at the Lacarno International Film Festival for "Why Has Bodhi-Dharma
Left for the East?" Letterboxed.
Korean with English subtitles. 135 minutes.