The story of Norbu, a horse thief, who is thrown out of his tribe in an effort to purge it of evil. Norbu repents after the birth of his son, but he is forced to steal again after the birth... See full summary »
A semi-literate who was deprived of schooling during the Cultural Revolution, Li Huiquan, is released from labor camp. But his attempts to make good are continually thwarted. His street ... See full summary »
On Dry Well Lane in Beijing in 1953, Chen Shujuan and Lin Shaolong marry. A year later their son, nicknamed Tietou (Iron Head), is born. The Party is everywhere: Mao's photograph, ... See full summary »
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Yu-liang leaves a brothel in a small Chinese town, to become the second wife of Mr. Pan. While Pan is away at the revolution in Yunnan, Yu-liang ... See full summary »
Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his ... See full summary »
Not far from Shanghai, in a country twon stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older ... See full summary »
Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. He finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer remembers him.
China, the 1990s. A young bookseller is in love with a woman. The woman is now with another guy, a rich man. The rich man sends his people to beat the bookseller. In the fight, the laptop ... See full summary »
This film concerns eight criminal prisoners of the Chinese 8th Army and one unjustly accused commander, also imprisoned; the prologue to the film leaves no doubt as towards the culpability of the eight and the innocence of the one. The nine accompany the army as it is harried by the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Zhang Yimou gets an early credit as cinematographer. It's the earliest Chinese war film I've seen where the characters aren't flagrant personifications of revolutionary values. It has pleasant concessions to humanity whilst still banging the propaganda drum (only to the same extent as The Green Berets). Whilst it is propaganda, I'm in no doubt that there was heroic defence against Japanese aggression at the time.
There is to an extent a disconnect between some particularly exorbitant cinematography (you could freeze many great still photos from the film), and a story that doesn't really flow and feels like it has too many gaps. There is however genuine pathos in the movie and the journey the men go on is compelling. The source text is trying to point out that the exemplary acts of one individual can knock onto the rest, although its seeming conviction that innocence is self-evident and will always out could be seen as an obnoxious repudiation of many innocent dead from this period. Would bear interesting comparison to Aldrich's Dirty Dozen in terms of archetype.
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