IMDb > To Live (1994)
Huo zhe
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To Live (1994) More at IMDbPro »Huo zhe (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   9,935 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Wei Lu (screenplay)
Hua Yu (novel)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for To Live on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
December 1994 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An All-Time Top Ten Film See more (85 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

You Ge ... Xu Fugui

Li Gong ... Xu Jiazhen
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

Directed by
Yimou Zhang 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Wei Lu  screenplay
Hua Yu  novel
Hua Yu  screenplay

Produced by
Fu-Sheng Chiu .... producer
Funhong Kow .... producer
Christophe Tseng .... producer
 
Original Music by
Jiping Zhao 
 
Cinematography by
Yue Lü 
 
Film Editing by
Yuan Du 
 
Art Direction by
Juiping Cao 
 
Production Management
Pingan Wang .... production manager
Zhenyan Zhang .... production manager
 
Sound Department
Jing Tao .... sound
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Huo zhe" - China (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
125 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Clint Eastwood's personal favorite of the competition entries at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival where Eastwood was Jury President.See more »
Quotes:
Little Bun:[playing with chickens] When will they grow up?
Xu Jiazhen:Very soon.
Little Bun:And then?
Xu Fugui:And then... the chickens will turn into geese... and the geese will turn into sheep... and the sheep will turn into oxen.
Little Bun:And after the oxen?
Xu Fugui:After oxen...
Xu Jiazhen:After oxen, Little Bun will grow up.
Little Bun:I want to ride on an ox's back.
Xu Jiazhen:You will ride on an ox's back.
Xu Fugui:Little Bun won't ride on an ox... he'll ride trains and planes... and life will get better and better.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Turandot Project (2000)See more »

FAQ

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40 out of 41 people found the following review useful.
An All-Time Top Ten Film, 15 June 2002
Author: intuitive7 from yti54

This is Zhang Yimou's and Gong Li's crowning triumph -- a top candidate for the greatest Chinese film of all time. Splendidly photographed and composed, consumately acted and faithfully scored, "To Live" is a three or four hour film novel lovingly packed into two hours and fifteen minutes. For a long time, Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander" stood by itself as the greatest family epic in my moviegoing experience. "The Best Years of Our Lives" ran a distant second. But since 1995 "To Live" has moved into a very close second.

Most Chinese who lived through Mao's Revolution say this film tells it like it was at the simple townsperson level. Though it can serve as an overview of Chinese history 1944 to 1970 or so, unlike Lean's "Gandhi" or "Lawrence of Arabia", this is not a hero's biopic. Instead we see a foolish, once rich but now fallen heir and his wife blown about by the winds of fortune for three decades and challenged as parents trying to raise two children under increasingly harsh and punitive communist tyranny. What you sense in this film, that I've never seen before in any Chinese film, is how the ethical and moral principles that have prevailed in Chinese culture for 2500 years - a mix of transcendence and pragmatism, humility and grit, cosmic harmonic balance and social duty - allows an ordinary couple to accept unbearable tragedy and keep going. It also shows what this survival strategy costs them in their Communist context. The screenplay is full of cosmic irony. It makes us aware, without shouting, that this is just one family among millions. As Yimou's transitional screen message says: "...leaving no family unaffected". It is to that extent, a tribute film.

Maybe ten hours of Kieslowski's "Decalogue" might accomplish the same broad survey of of human happenstance and emotion. Maybe Kurosawa in three or four hours. But never in two plus hours have I seen the scope Zhang Yimou achieves here. "To Live" also contains as wise a moral lesson as any film I've seen, and it's a gentle one despite the surrounding violence. I couldn't paraphrase the lesson for you. I wouldn't try. Just watch. It will reach you non-verbally in about 90 minutes. Just know, this isn't Shakespeare, Hollywood or soap opera. It's something else.

Gong Li's work is as powerful as anything Streep or Sarandon have ever done in the west - which is all the more inspiring since the camera doesn't lavish star-level attention on her. As her husband, Ge You turns in an emotionally riveting, charming, sometimes funny and devastatingly honest performance. The direction is sure handed, the shooting unfailingly gorgeous. Zhang Yimou's cinematic canvass has never been so big or his palette so colorful and controlled. Full of spectacle, great sweeps of time and onrushing tides of humanity, "To Live" is still, in the end, a sweet and poignant epic with an intimate, observant heart. Great story telling. Do not miss! Try to view a letterbox version on a big screen.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for To Live (1994)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
How did Fengxia die?? its-hard-to-explain
Is Long'er Japanese? ahoymematey2000
Your reviews make me wonder if i saw the same film.. Trickyrich
One of the ten great films ever jrl0726
Soundtrack chuckatomic
Has anyone read the book? vietdawg
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