Why has bodhi-dharma Left for the East?
Dir. Bae Yong-kyun
On DVD 04/16/10
Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? has been acclaimed by critics and audiences throughout the world as a film of remarkable power and beauty. In a remote mountain monastery above a bustling city, an old Zen master, his conflicted young apprentice, and an orphaned boy live a life of quiet contemplation. The old master, nearing his end, wishes to make the ceremony of his death his final lesson to his apprentice, who is struggling to come to terms with the worldly life he left behind. Meanwhile the young boy has his own awakening to mortality as he attempts to nurse a bird he thoughtlessly injured with a stone. The title of the film is a Zen koan — a paradox meant to aid meditation — that provokes the question of the distinction between leaving and arriving. This magnificent film, quietly powerful and astonishingly rich in formal beauty, is not only a cinematic gem, but an evocative meditation on the cyclical nature of existence. Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? does not seek to explain the tenets of Zen Buddhism so much as illuminate the mysteries of life that lie behind them. Milestone is pleased to present the definitive version of the film, with never before seen footage, remastered and painstakingly re-cut by the visionary director Bae Yong-kyun himself.
Bae Yong-kyun was born in 1951 in Tae-Gu, Korea. As a young child, Bae dedicated himself to his two loves: painting and cinema. By the time he was 14, he had decided that someday he would make a movie. Bae went to the movies constantly as a youth, seeing one film more than fifty times. He especially loved and was influenced by the films of William Wyler, David Lean and Robert Bresson. Throughout his troubled adolescence, Bae studied Buddhism and Asian philosophy. In an interview, he said of that period, "Hermann Hesse saved me.' For over a year during high school, Bae fled home and lived in absolute solitude as a hermit in the mountains.
After high school, Bae entered the Faculty of Fine Arts where he studied painting and art history. As a painter, Bae was strongly influenced by the French impressionists and surrealists. He also showed an uncommon talent for poetry and photography. Bae received his Doctorate and presently teaches painting at the Faculty.
Bae met his wife, fellow artist, Min Kyoung-myoung while studying at the Faculty of Fine Arts. She worked closely with him on the planning and editing of Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? Bae's second film The People Dressed in White was released in 1995.
Directed by Bae Yong-kyun Written by Bae Yong-kyun Produced by Bae Yong-kyun Cinematography by Bae Yong-kyun Edited by Bae Yong-kyun Sound by Bae Yong-kyun
Brand-new master with definitive director's cut including new footage (running time 145).
Enhanced for widescreen TV.
Dolby digital 5.1 DTS, Dolby digital 2.0 stereo.
Improved English subtitles.
Subtitles in English and Korean.