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   9,938 votes »
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Down 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
Moving, comic and political – despite being a little bleak at times it is almost without flaw 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 »
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FAQ

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18 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Moving, comic and political – despite being a little bleak at times it is almost without flaw, 25 January 2003
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Reasonably well off, Fugui loses all his money due to his gambling addiction. Eventually he loses his house in a game of dice with Long'er. Fugui's pregnant wife Jiazhen leaves him when it is clear he wants his vice over her. With poverty, Fugui comes to his senses and starts work with his own puppet troupe. On the birth of their son Jiazhen returns to the reformed Fugui, but civil war breaks out and Fugui leaves to fight. With things difficult already, the rise of the Maoist regime makes things ever more difficult and the Xu family suffer fortune and misfortune as Communism is formed.

I watched this movie because it had won the top award at Cannes. I hadn't high hopes for some reason, but I figured it was worth a look. I am very glad I did because it is a wonderful little piece that can be enjoyed with little knowledge of the regime against which it is set. The story follows the family's misfortunes and how they are affected by the rise of Chairman Mao. Their plight is touching as they suffer wrongs but also show compassion on others – all the while trying to do the right thing by the system that is impacting on them. Even when tragedy occurs they never blame Communism but heap it on themselves instead.

This unfolds over many years with the rise of Mao as the backdrop. The parrellel between the two things is clear without being forced or rammed down our throats – it's a wonderful bit of handling. Even better is the infusion of comic touches all the way through, the dialogue (even in subtitle form) is great and is witty and touching – I laughed out loud many times.

Not having seen any other films by Zhang, I can only hope they are as good as this one. The cast, too, do a great job with the film. You Ge's Fugui is fabulous – he is a draw from the start on, and his ageing is so convincing that credit must go not only to the makeup but also to Ge for doing so well with potentially tragic figure. Likewise Gong is superb but ages less convincingly. The support cast are all good from the children through to the figures of Mao like Jiang and Niu. The only thing that saddened me about the two great leads is to think that Western cinema will never care to have them in any films – I guess that when it comes to Hong Kong cinema Hollywood only are interested if it has slow-motion and guns! (and they think they're cutting edge!)

Overall I find it very hard to fault this film as it has so much going for it on so many levels. Just as a human story it is excellent, and the historical context only serves to make it better. Comic and touching right to it's perfectly pitched close, this should be searched out by anyone who wants a genuinely moving human tale with political comment sown into each frame without intrusion.

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See more (85 total) »

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
See more »

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