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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great film, not a surprise that it won in Canadian film festival

Author: zzmale
24 November 2003

The literal translation of the Mandarin title is "An unfinished Go Match"

Great portray of friendship, tragedy, and trust between the citizens of two countries that was torn apart by war, and their eventual uneasy reconciliation. The personal relationship is the reflection of the countries involved.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

the many facets of friendship and love across the years and miles

Author: capercaillie from United States
24 February 2006

I have been searching for this film for years. My husband and I saw it 20 years ago at the Seattle Film Festival. We both agreed that it was the best film we had ever seen. We still talk about it and I would love to locate a copy to buy for him.

The film tells the story of the effect of war on two families. There are several scenes which are heart-breakingly beautiful, as they depict the depths of forgiveness and hope which the human spirit can reach. The cinematography is reminiscent of a David Lean film; in fact, we went to see this film because a reviewer called it "an Oriental Doctor Zhivago".

If you get a chance to see it, go for it.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Why Isn't This Movie on DVD?

Author: puckmeister from Los Angeles
17 August 2001

I saw this movie in the mid-1980's at a small theater in Los Angeles. I agree it's one of the best, and most moving, foreign films I've ever seen. I've been looking for it for years on video tape and have never found it. This is definitely a film that deserves The Criterion Collection treatment. Though it is a foreign film, about a strategy board game and two competitors (one Japanese and one Chinese) and about how World War II interupts their friendship, it's themes and emotions are universal, transcending any language barrier. Beautifully made motion picture.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Best foriegn film I have seen.

Author: mindfuzz from Honolulu, HI
30 August 1999

This movie is not my favorite movie, that would be the Shawshank Redemption. However, it is my favorite foreign film of all time. People in america hear plenty about the horrors that occured in the European Theater during World War 2. Unfortunately, the only thing that we all seem to know happened in Asia collectively is that we won by dropping the Atomic Bomb on hiroshima. In the 80's there was the brief publicity over the cancer victims of hiroshima. For the most part however, the Pacific Theater has been greatly ignored. This movie not only shows the brutality of the Japanese war machine both in Japan and in the land they conquered. It also gives a good picture of the atrocities that occurred in China as well.

Still. all that is nothing. It also ties all of that history in to the game of Go, a game revered in both cultures. It shows the differences between both cultures. If you are looking through the movie store one night, wondering what to rent. I recommend this.

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2 out of 10 people found the following review useful:


Author: tedg ( from Virginia Beach
16 November 2008

There is a way to do this right. You can see it in "Hero," where the film is alternately a game of Go, a collection of ordered drops of rain, and many, many other things. That film mattered.

This one may be said to be important because it was a collaboration between Japanese and Chinese (which means the Red Army) concerns and it deals honestly with outrageous Japanese thuggery. And the production is expensive at least, with lots of people and accurate, detailed sets. But as with many collaborations, the artistic vision got watered down. Like hundreds, perhaps even thousands, it traces human emotions both caused and effected in societal conflict.

There is nothing new here, nothing effective. The fact that our chief males either are experts at this marvelous game or admirers of the art of playing matters little. It could have substituted a calligrapher, poet or swordsman. There's nothing at all of the surrounding and capture, the shifts and pulls of the game. One can see that the story was originally envisioned to be folded in this way, and perhaps the source material was. But as with so many others, it got lost on the way to the pier.

I found the performances stilted, even by Japanese standards. As they dominate this thing philosophically, that is the metric we should use I suppose.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.

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