Korean provocateur Kim Ki-Duk sets aside his penchant for misogyny and violence with Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring, and the results are somber, serene and stirring. Split into the title’s five seasons, the film is a simple fable about the different stages of a young man’s slow but steady maturation. A boy lives on a floating river raft as the apprentice of an elderly Buddhist monk, and Ki-Duk’s film charts his growth from being a cruel kid who tortures animals (Spring) to a love-struck teenager enraptured by a beautiful visitor (Summer) to a spurned and vengeful lover (Fall) to a repentant and spiritually renewed adult (Winter) and, finally, to a wise mentor to a young boy not unlike his former self (and Spring). More so than with Bad Guy or The Isle, Spring, Summer’s symbolism – which aids the film’s themes of compassion, altruism, love, lust, jealousy, revenge, penance and selflessness – fits smoothly into his mise-en-scène, which conveys delicate spirituality through contemplative tranquility. Ki-Duk’s film runs a bit too long, but his patient storytelling reflects a newfound directorial maturity, and his hypnotizing depiction of the repetitive (and unalterable) cycles of life has an unaffected profundity.