7.2/10
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7 user 3 critic

Red Cherry (1996)

Hong ying tao (original title)
It is 1940. Chuchu and Luo Xiaoman are Chinese students who have been sent to study in Moscow, at the International School. She is 13; he is 12. Xiaoman is from Yanan, Mao's base after the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ke-Yu Guo ...
ChuChu
Hsiao-Ling Hsu ...
Luo Xiaoman
Vladmill Nizmiroff
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Storyline

It is 1940. Chuchu and Luo Xiaoman are Chinese students who have been sent to study in Moscow, at the International School. She is 13; he is 12. Xiaoman is from Yanan, Mao's base after the Long March; Chuchu had seen her father executed by Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang. The youngsters fit in well and learn to speak Russian... A large group of students, including Chuchu, leave for summer camp in Byelorussia accompanied by their teacher, Miss Vera. Xiaoman remains behind... The Nazis invade the Soviet Union. Moscow remains unoccupied. Xiaoman takes a job delivering condolence letters to soldiers' families. At one apartment, he finds a mother has died. Her very young daughter, Nadia, has not realized it... The summer camp is occupied by Germans. Miss Vera is murdered. One of the Russian boys, Carl, is half-German, and helps the others to escape. They are quickly recaptured. Chuchu and several other students are sent by Gen. von Dietrich to work as servants at Nazi headquarters in the ... Written by David Carless

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Genres:

Drama | War

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Release Date:

February 1996 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Red Cherry  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Outstanding Film
1 September 2003 | by (Muncie, Indiana (USA)) – See all my reviews

I watched Red Cherry for the first time of VHS. I was immediately impressed with the outstanding acting, particularly of the two main characters, but I was a bit bothered by the jumping around from one year to the next. The subtitle quality wasn't great, either, nor were the special FX and production values up to snuff. I bought it on DVD and watched it again, and I liked it considerably better the second time, and it keeps getting better and better every time I watch it. It might take some time to get adjusted to the time jumping and weak (by big bucks Hollywood standards, anyway) special FX and whatnot, but Red Cherry has quickly climbed into my top 25 films of all time, and I've seen quite a few high quality films (Lynch, Bergman, DeSica, Kubrick, Zhang Yimou, Wong Kar-Wei, Polanski, and Kurosawa are some of my favorite filmmakers). I hope to find a higher quality DVD in the future; this film deserves so much more. I'm was really surprised to discover that this film got little recognition outside of China. Too dark, I guess, but Schindler's List was quite grim and was a major hit. Oh, well, just make sure you watch it.

The stars of the film are just perfect, and there are many scenes that are very moving. You fall in love with the main characters right away, and you like them more and more as the story progresses. There were a few scenes that reduced me to tears (scenes with Nadia, the adopted Russian girl and each of the main characters' final scenes), quite an accomplishment, as few films move me that much (Grave of the Fireflies, one of the best films ever made, got me as well). The story is told in an atypical way: the stories of the two main characters are cross-sections of their lives during a 5-year period, and the film jumps to the next year after showing a bit of their current circumstances. Once I got used to it, I didn't mind the format at all. Once I got into the film, the minor technical deficiencies seemed to disappear. Highly, highly recommended.

By the way, I don't agree that there is a lot of propaganda involved in this film. The description of the treatment of Mao revolutionaries isn't exactly complimentary to the Chinese government. They executed revolutionaries by chopping them in two at the waist with a haysickle? Yeah, that really places the Chinese government in a positive light! This story is about children and war, period. And it's a very sad and powerful story.


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