The visual register of spring, summer, autumn, winter and spring is persuasively naturalistic. The aesthetics of its framing and editing contribute lusciously to building the sense that we are gazing at a dependable representation of a physical world located in a specific space and time. The film opens in springtime, sensually heavy with trees' greenery. The Old Monk's presence, although self-evidently physical, simultaneously insists upon his spirituality. The girl's presence awakens the Young Monk's desire, but he has no idea how to negotiate the gulf between sexual appetite and self-disciplined monastic life. One wet day, finding her asleep in front of the Buddha, he thoughtfully puts a cover over her, but then, unable to hold back, feels her breast. The Young Monk's body language reveals he has yet to understand that in order to respond with true compassion to others he must also feel sympathy for himself.