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To Live (1994)
"Huo zhe" (original title)

 -  Drama | War  -  December 1994 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 9,938 users  
Reviews: 85 user | 19 critic

Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry. Addicted to gambling, Fugui loses everything. In the years that ... See full summary »

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Title: To Live (1994)

To Live (1994) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Ben Niu ...
Town Chief
Wu Jiang ...
Wan Erxi
Deng Fei ...
Xu Youqing
Tao Guo ...
Chunsheng
Tianchi Liu ...
Xu Fengxia, as an adult
Zongluo Huang ...
Fu Gui's Dad
Yanjin Liu ...
Fu Gui's Mom
Dahong Ni ...
Long'er
Lian-Yi Li ...
Sgt. Lao Quan
Xiao Cong ...
Xu Fengxia, as a teenager
Zhang Lu ...
Fengxia, as a child
Yan Su
Edit

Storyline

Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry. Addicted to gambling, Fugui loses everything. In the years that follow he is pressed into both the nationalist and communist armies, while Jiazhen is forced into menial work. They raise a family and survive, managing "to live" from the 40's to the 70's in this epic, but personal, story of life through an amazing period. Written by docraven

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

December 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To Live  »

Box Office

Gross:

SGD 482,000 (Singapore)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is banned in China. However, there are a number of pirate copies you can buy on the street. See more »

Quotes

Xu Fugui: What did you name our son?
Xu Jiazhen: "Don't Gamble".
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Loving Jezebel (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chinese history on a human scale
14 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Yimou Zhang's "To Live" begins in the late 1940s and covers several decades in the life of Fugui (You Ge), his wife Jiazhen (Li Gong), and their two children. It is an excellent family drama, provoking both laughter and tears, and distinguishing itself from similar movies because of its commitment to showing how China's changing society affects the family. It takes the huge subject of "the first twenty years of Communism in China," and brings it down to a human scale.

Both leading actors nicely portray the way their characters change over the years. At first, Fugui is the stereotypical "callow young man" and Jiazhen the even more stereotypical "long- suffering wife," but the screenplay and actors eventually deepen the characterizations.

The best sequence of the film covers the Chinese Civil War. Wisely, Yimou Zhang resists the temptation to make the movie too epic, and instead focuses on Fugui's personal experiences. The result is a very moving depiction of the human cost of war. In another striking touch, Fugui's hobby is singing with a shadow-puppet troupe. The puppets not only provide an interesting glimpse into traditional Chinese culture, they also take on a symbolic meaning.

After watching "To Live," it's easy to see why the Chinese authorities banned it: there's a lot of tragedy in the film, and in most cases, Communism is to blame. Remarkably, though, Zhang also makes many of the Communist characters sympathetic. For instance, Fugui and Jiazhen's daughter marries an officer in the Red Guards, who is a little ridiculous in his devotion to Mao Zedong, but not a villain. This is in keeping with the overall spirit of "To Live"--humanistic and subtle, instead of bombastic or propagandistic. It's both an important examination of recent Chinese history, and a universal story about how individual human beings manage "to live" in times of hardship. A rare combination, and one well worth seeing.


19 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Your reviews make me wonder if i saw the same film.. Trickyrich
How did Fengxia die?? its-hard-to-explain
What is the meaning behind the title? Lefantome16
Has anyone read the book? vietdawg
My stupid DVD is broken! Someone please fill in a gap solo_duk
Book alice_wooly
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