To Live

Director Zhang 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 is raising kids and trying to make a living. The film starts out in the ’40s and continues throughout the ’70s, 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 moments, but it is nevertheless a strong, emotional drama with really good acting.

1994-China-Hong Kong. 130 min. Color. Produced by Chiu Fu-Sheng, Kow Funhong, Christophe Tseng. Directed by Zhang Yimou. Screenplay: Yu Hua, Lu Wei. Novel: Yu Hua (“Lifetimes”). Music: Zhao Jiping. Cast: Ge You (Xu Fugui), Gong Li (Xu Jiazhen), Niu Ben (Town Chief), Guo Tao (Chunsheng), Jiang Wu, Ni Dahong.

Trivia: Original title: Huozhe.

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

Three stars

Published by Stefan Hedmark 2004-12-05 10:48

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