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Film Review: Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? (1989) by Bae Yong-kyun

Dear Reader,

I hope this review finds you well.

Today I watched “Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?” for the first time. It is Bae Yong-Kyun first feature and it won the Golden Leopard in Locarno in 1989. It is going to be shown in London, as part of the Korean Film Festival ‘A Century of Korean Cinema Focus’. I am not sure how I feel about it.

“Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?” is screening at London Korean Film Festival

The camera follows the daily lives of three main characters

in the mountain (of course all male; I would like to believe it’s because it was 1989 and people could still openly say they didn’t care or it didn’t even cross their mind). Our three musketeers are all Buddhist monks and from different generations: Hae-jin, young boy, Ki-bong, thirty-something, and Hye-gok, elder and Master. The three

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