The Blue Kite (1993)
"Lan feng zheng" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  25 March 1994 (USA)
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Reviews: 17 user | 13 critic

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 »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tian Yi ...
Tietou as an infant
Wenyao Zhang ...
Tietou as a child
Xiaoman Chen ...
Tietou as a teenager
Liping Lü ...
Chen Shujuan
Cunxin Pu ...
Lin Shaolong
Li Guodong (Uncle Li)
Baochang Guo ...
3rd husband
Ping Zong ...
Chen Shusheng
Quanzhong Chu ...
Chen Shuyan
Xiaoying Song ...
Hong Zhang ...
Zhu Ying
Yanjin Liu ...
Shujuan's mother
Bin Li ...
Zhang Lu ...
Mrs. Lan
Donglin Guo ...
Lin Yunwei


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, loud-speaker announcements, visits from the neighborhood committee. Shaolong dies in a reform camp; a close family friend, who protects Shujuan and her son partly out of guilt for lying to authorities about Shaolong, succumbs to malnutrition; a confrontation with the Red Guard leads to injury, imprisonment and death. Shujuan's love for Tietou sustains her, and the child's blue kite embodies hope: "I can make another for you," says Tietou's dad; by the end, Tietou promises this to a small child Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 March 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De blauwe vlieger  »

Box Office


$355,974 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When it became clear at some point during production that the Chinese government would ban this film, the producers smuggled the negative to Japan, completed post production there and sold the rights worldwide. Peking was not amused, and in consequence, director Zhuangzhuang Tian was not allowed to work for several years. See more »

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User Reviews

somber, depressing and well-made
29 November 2005 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Due to the subject matter, it was impossible to make this a happy movie. The counter-revolutions that followed the ascendancy of the Chinese Communist government were brutal and senseless--destructive just for the sake of being destructive. So naturally, this isn't a "feel good" movie. I liked how honest the movie was in giving a no holds barred look at this period of time--stretching from about 1953 to 1968.

The negatives about the movie really depend on your frame of reference. For the Chinese audience, much of what was occurring on screen would be easy to follow and keeping track of who is who isn't a problem. However, for Western audiences, this can be quite a chore. I had an easier time than most because I am a history teacher and was acquainted with what was occurring--but the average viewer will most likely get lost from time to time. And, unfortunately, MOST Chinese haven't even gotten the chance to view it as it was banned by their government when it premiered in the early 1990s! So, apart from those Chinese people living in Taiwan or elsewhere abroad, the audience may be rather limited. Because of this, I would love to see the movie along with a documentary explaining the time and events--especially because ignorance about this traumatic time is partly due to the Chinese government's attempts in the past to hide the counter-revolution's excesses.

FYI--although NOT made clear in the movie, the scene where the people were out killing sparrows needs some explanation. Chairman Mao ordered EVERYONE across the nation to beat drums and make a huge racket in order to terrify the birds and keep them flying until they exhausted themselves to death. Perhaps billions of these birds were killed in an attempt to increase crop production (aparently the birds were "capitalist reactionaries" or at least enemies of the state). However, the little grain the birds consumed was NOT a real problem but the insects that the birds ate were. So, as a result of the destruction of the birds, bug populations SKYROCKETED and the crops were decimated. That is why several scenes later people are complaining that there were 3 years of famine.

Also, it seemed to me that it was implied that the reason the one lady quit the army (where she was an actress for propaganda plays) was because she was expected to "put out" for officers. She chose to quit instead and shortly afterwards she was sent to a "re-education camp" as punishment for this.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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