• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:January 24, 2020

To Live

toliveDirector Zhang Yimou sure knows how to make an epic; this one is politically controversial, just like his previous films, and it was banned in China. The filmmakers have chosen to depict changes in Chinese society over 30 years as they are seen through the eyes of a couple (Ge You, Gong Li) that are raising kids and trying to make a living. The film starts out in the 1940s and continues throughout the 1970s, showing the horrors of communism; the effects on the people are disastrous, but somehow they survive the experiments. The film has its share of Hollywood-style moments, but it is certainly a strong, emotional drama with exceptional acting.

1994-China-Hong Kong. 132 min. Color. Produced byĀ Chiu Fu-Sheng, Kow Funhong, Christophe Tseng. Directed byĀ Zhang Yimou. Screenplay: Yu Hua, Lu Wei. Novel: Yu Hua (ā€œLifetimesā€). Music: Zhao Jiping. Cast: Ge You (Xu Fugui), Gong Li (Xu Jiazhen), Niu Ben (Town Chief), Guo Tao (Chunsheng), Jiang Wu, Ni Dahong.

Trivia:Ā Original title:Ā Huozhe.

Cannes:Ā Jury Prize, Best Actor (Ge You).Ā BAFTA:Ā Best Foreign Language Film.

Last word: “I loved the story because it talked about simple people, a very ordinary Chinese family, and their relationships: one could see the people’s evolution through life, their attitudes, and not too much political and social background. History was secondary while the individual and the family were in the first plan. It is an aspect to which the directors of the Fifth Generation did not give much attention, and I wanted to break this pattern, to pay more attention to the individual and the family.” (Zhang, “Zhang Yimou: Interviews”)

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