A great Chinese movie

I am a fan of good new Chinese cinema and one of my favorite directors in the genre is Zhang Yimou.

Last night I rewatched, after quite some time, his uplifting movie To Live, based on the depressing but striking novel by Yu Hua.  The movie was banned in China and Zhang Yimou was punished for it by being forbidden to make movies for a while.

Zhang Yimou has some other fine movies, such as The Road Home (which just might make even grown men cry at the end), the visually incredible Hero, the harrowing Not One Less, the creepy Raise The Red Lantern.  I am ambivalent about his Curse Of The Golden Flower and about his remake of Blood Simple by the Coen Brothers, A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, although there is an incredible noodle making scene in it.  (UK Readers can cut and paste the titles into my Amazon UK search box at the bottom of the page).

Anyhoo, To Live has a lot of tragedy in it and reversals of fortune.  Part of the lesson, however, is that reversals brings chances “to live”.

It is hard to get some of the new Chinese cinema movies, but they are worth the effort.  And, in a way, it was a fitting way to observe our Independence Day.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jacob says:

    I always enjoy In the Mood For Love. The acting is excellent and the representation of 60s Hong Kong is so otherworldly compared to my 21st century middle-class American surroundings.

  2. Tamquam says:

    As a lover of history I found To Live interesting take on various phases of Mao’s revolution.

  3. Mike says:

    Agree on The Road Home, a rare cinematic example of a love story for grown-up men and women.

  4. blessedtolivenow says:

    This film really touched my soul. I used to watch it annually, and feel both gratitude for my life and also weep for what others endure. Glad to know that it’s still available, I will have to order it!

  5. rcg says:

    I would only caution on the subtext of ‘Hero’ that carries a very strong Chinese Government message.

  6. msc says:

    The House of Flying Daggers is worth seeing for its astonishing use of colour alone–somewhat like Hero.

  7. GloriaDei says:

    The noodle-making scene is absolutely astonishing!

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