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Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?


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Product Details

  • Actors: Hae-Jin Huang, Pan-Yong Yi, Su-Myong Ko, Won-Sop Sin
  • Directors: Bae Yong-Kyun
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, Surround Sound
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque
  • DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UGBOX6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,451 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This DVD includes the director's edition of the film by Bae Yong-Kyun. Extras include 10 minutes of previously unseen footage and more. An old Zen master, his conflicted young apprentice and an orphaned boy lead a life of quiet contemplation in a remote m

Review

"Ravishingly beautiful spellbinding stunning visionary as intense an experience of being in nature as one could hope to glean from a film In gazing into the physical world with fixity, clarity and depth rarely found in the cinema, WHY HAS BODHI-DHARMA LEFT FOR THE EAST? goes about as far as a film can go." - --New York Times

"An extraordinary film, it will repay you with beauty, an ethical imperative and a profound humanity." - --Boston Globe

"A remarkable personal film... It evokes a contemplative experience in a compelling style reminiscent of Ozu and Tarkovsky. This is an ambitious expression of dharma art -- don't miss it!" - --Tricycle Magazine

Customer Reviews

It is just one of the best movie ever made.
Alexandru
The thing I appreciate about it, is it truly is like "viewing a meditation." The film is very relaxing, allowing the imagery to tell the story mostly.
Swing King
In my opinion, you don't have to understand anything, nor should you be buddhist or have knowlege in buddhism to like this movie.
kaela kim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Russell Fanelli TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 29, 2004
Format: DVD
Those viewers wanting an entertaining evening at the movies may wish to stop reading this review now. Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? is not an entertainment in any traditional sense. The purpose of this film is to help us make connections with the world as it is. As we patiently watch the screen we may be gently or not so gently startled by what we experience. It may be that what we thought we knew we see truly for the first time.

Korean director Bae Yong-Kyun accomplishes this awakening in three ways. First he presents a story of two monks and a young orphan boy. The old Zen master, Hyegok, rescued the boy, Haejin from poverty in the city and brought the boy to a Zen mountain retreat to live. The young novice monk, Kibong, leaves his blind mother in the city to seek enlightenment. Kibong is directed by a Zen priest to go to the mountain retreat to assist the old master, who is dying. The master instructs his student and the young boy with few words, the example of his own life, and an occasional sharp remonstrance.

One important lesson the master teaches is the illusion of self and the interconnectedness of all beings. Suffering arises from the false desires of the self. The novice suffers deeply because he is confused about the right action to take and the purpose of his life. He feels guilt for having left his blind mother. At one point the novice goes down the mountain to buy medicine for the master in the city. He looks in on his mother without announcing himself and then quietly leaves her alone. He has made the decision to care for his master, not his mother.

The orphan has his own story. What little action takes place in this film centers on the activity of the boy. First, he throws a rock and stuns a bird which falls in the water.
Read more ›
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ben Jordan on May 26, 2000
Format: DVD
There are not nearly enough Korean films available in the West, and this is the kind of movie which reminds me that we're missing out. A Buddhist monk and his apprentice live in a temple up in the mountains, and contemplate life and all of its meanings. This is the basic premise for a film which lasts for 2½ hours. And it took 10 years to make. But this is no criticism. Plenty of Zen Buddhist philosophy abounds despite sparse dialogue. While the film has a very challenging duration to endure, people who do stick with it will learn something of this popular religion (which I for one find interesting), and will also be treated to a lot of simply beautiful, captivating and breath-taking Korean natural scenery. If you can't watch a film without action, or a dialogue-driven drama, then don't torture yourself. This is not for you. Everyone else however will find a damn good film with depth-aplenty. Highly recommended.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 2004
Format: DVD
Watched this movie with my wife. She disliked it for its "stark realism" - I loved it for it's breathtaking imagery. True, it deals with life issues with a no nonsesnse stark reality way, and without the honeycoating of a hollywood movie - but for me the visual beauty of the film was wonderful. In addition, for those interested in things philosophical, the story line holds together well and the themes are explored with regard the title of the film (which is a zen ko-an).
Don't really know of another film like it - we bought it because we were looking for a 'slow' film like 'Scent of Green Papaya" which we love. This is nothing like 'scent' but it creates a 'spaciousness' which we both loved. If you want car chases, explosions, girls in bikinis, and sword fights, leave this one alone!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By S. Jung on March 2, 2000
Format: DVD
I am seeing this movie third time. Frankly speaking I doubt that common western viewers can understand fully the stories without background of introductory Zen. I think this movie is full of symbolism on Zen and eastern philosophy. For example, the positions, moving rhythms, and angles of camera usually are from the observer or the shelf. Karma is a main principle supporting the story. Even without any knowledge on Zen, this movie is still meditative, or very boring to make you sleep peacefully.
I heard that the original movie was luckily found by the director himself for DVD production. Original sound is mono. English translation seemed to be good and concise. The director is a professor in Korea, and this is the first and last movie he made for public. I heard that he spent seven years for this movie in the Ji-ri Mountain in the southern Korea.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Alfredo on November 5, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As the item itself states, the movie's title is a Koan. A Koan is a riddle given by a Zen master to his disciple for him/her to meditate on it to go beyond intellectual thinking. This movie in itself is a Koan for anyone to appreciate and reflect upon. This is not a movie about Zen practice, but actually about the truth of human suffering. I strongly recommend this movie for anyone, but especially for Zen practitioners whom I believe will appreciate the deep message contained within this wonderful film.
Gassho.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Perry L Buckner on February 4, 2002
Format: DVD
I found this movie by chance and am so glad that I did. I have studied Zen as well as several other different lineages of Buddhism for most of my life and found this movie to be a wonderful depiction of the philosophies of the East. Beautifully filmed. A must see for those who look for the positive in all they see! I will admit that this movie is not for everyone. With the films that most of us are used to this will appear to slow for many. But, if your in a quiet, meditative mood and yearning for a something completely different - Check this one out!
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