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Postmen in the Mountains More at IMDbPro »Nashan naren nagou (original title)

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22 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Less is often more. A lot more in this case.

Author: Stone Chen from Vancouver, Canada
10 February 2002

The story is simple. Only it is not. A son is taking over the postman job of his father, who is forced to retirement due to arthritis. And on his first day of job, the father walks along to show him the rope (literally). The job is simple, they walk uphill 80 kilometers a day for two days, and back down 80 kilometers on the third day, dropping off and picking up mails in the villages along the way. Yet the job is not that simple at all, the postman's job involves a lot more than just simply delivering mail, he also need to know the relationships amoung the villagers by heart. The story revolves around the relationship between the father and son. It is not a rebellion relationship typically seen in western movies, the son already appreciates the sacrifice his father has to make, considering the father is one of the only few literates in the area, yet he spents almost 30 years delivering mail on foot, often away from home for months - it is a great sacrifice (there's a scene late in the film which the son tells his father what needs to be done in their own village, and you realize that the father has been away from home for so long that he knows little about it). But this time, the son truely experiences and understands the difficulty of the job. The last few scenes of the film tells that even though the father may not have spend much time with his son, he could trust no one but him for the job, and you understand why his son, who could probably spent his life in the cities, takes his job at the beginning of the film.

Sometimes funny, but mostly touching, the subtle but deep bond between the father and son is very well acted.

Great cinematagraphy, well suited for the subtle tone of the film.

There are many little bits that would be lost to the westerners if translated in English. For example, the Chinese title of the film is "Those Mountains, Those People, That Dog", refering to their trusted family dog, a constant companion on the road. The name of the dog (in English dub is apparently Bingo), is "Lao Er", an often used term to descript the second son of the family. Even so, if it had a wider release in the states, I truely believe that it would win a lotta awards.

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Simply excellent!

Author: lulu88 from Hong Kong
9 May 2000

The story looks as simple as it can be. It is simply a record of the journey of two postmen in the mountains, father, son and their dog. The father is retiring and the son is taking over the job, with the help of their dog Buddy, who has been helping all along. But wait...

If you enjoy the docudrama style of "Not One Less" by Zhang Yimou, you will love this movie. It makes use of similar techniques but to an even more superb level. It does not attempt to 'tell a story', but simply lets the facts, conflicts and feelings unfold as the journey of the father and son goes on. It is so 'real' that even the names of the characters were not mentioned, they are just 'the postman', 'the son' as people would address them. (And as you would address your postman.)

The 'son' is one of the very few Chinese actors in recent Chinese cinema with cute looks and top quality acting. All the other actors did a great job as well.

The cinematography is excellent, especially when compared to most Chinese movies where lighting is poor. But this is not too surprising, knowing that the director had been an Art Director before.

The movie was based in the early 80's in China, and I just wonder if they are still using the same methods to distribute mail. Anyway I would like to pay my respect to all mail staff who have taken part in the difficult process of helping people communicate with each other, making the world a smaller and happier place.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

I was so lucky to see it!

Author: benbrae76
11 September 2006

I was fortunate enough to have a friend in Hong Kong to send me a CD of this film, for which I have to thank him immensely. It is a truly wonderful Chinese movie, and set in the China of the 1970's.

The plot, though simple, never fails to hold the attention, and gives a heartwarming insight into the relationship of a father and son getting to know, and learning to appreciate each other after long periods apart during all the years of the boy's upbringing.

The father, played by Rujun Ten, is a postman whose route takes him around the mountain of Hunan and away from his family for months at a time. But due to age (and failing legs) he is forced to retire and to hand the job over to his son, played by Ye Liu. This movie is the story of the former showing the latter the mail route, it's ups and downs, with introductions to the mountain people on the way. They are aided in no small way by their faithful German shepherd dog, Buddy.

The Chinese scenery is utterly stunning, the cinematography equally so, which is backed up by superbly sensitive and restrained acting by the two main players and also the supporting cast (which includes the dog, a star in his own right).

The one downside is that it's possibly a little too slow-paced for most Western tastes, and therefore probably won't get the universal airing it deserves. But for my money "Nashan naren nagou" ("The Mountain Postman") is absolutely unmissable.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Simply remarkable - a film not to be missed

Author: Ruby Liang (ruby_fff) from sf, usa
23 April 2005

I only chance upon this precious gem of a film from China while watching the DVD extra features of a Hong Kong film. Director Carol Lai talked about how she came to select actor Liu Ye in her film "The Floating Landscape" 2003. I caught her mentioning the film "Nashan Naren Nagou" (aka "Postmen in the Mountains) and I checked it out. It was a remarkable surprise - I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Its positive energy never thrust at you, but just be, and at times touching that would bring a heartwarming smile and tear simultaneously.

It may appear to be a simple film about the life of a postman who delivers mail in the rural mountains, but there's a lot more than meets the eye. And what a feast for the eye: the scenery is amazing and the cultural folklore enchanting. The simplicity (ease) of it all: direction, storytelling, cinematography, editing with sound and music flowing with the natural performances become an integral whole. The depth of varying emotions between father and son, mother and son, father and mother (in nostalgic flashbacks), father and the dog (affectionately called: the 'second son') - more than subtly reveals through the son's narration and realization how much the postman job means to his father and the people he served all these years. It's no simple story after all - a maturing journey where the son and the father grew to appreciate each other, strengthened their bond and increased their love of the family's central 'pillar' - the mother/the wife in their lives. The storyline is the staple of Asian culture.

As you go on this journey with the central characters, you will be rewarded more than hundredth fold. "That mountain, that man, that dog" - the literal translation of the Chinese title of the film comes as naturally and gently as the film is delivered. "Postmen in the Mountains" is not to be missed. It's available on DVD in Chinese with English subtitles. (If I remember right, it even featured a tune in English somehow.)

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Life transitions for a father and son, amidst stunning mountain beauty

Author: ( from Portland, Oregon, United States
20 November 2005

Lovely, sentimental film about life transitions for a father (Ten Rujun) and his young adult son (Liu Ye), set against a background of almost achingly beautiful landscapes photographed in the mountains of Hunan Province in south central China.

The time is the present, and the father, though only in his early 40s, is no longer physically able to conduct his torturous postal route made on foot, carrying a huge mail pack deep into the mountains. He has arranged for his son to inherit his job.

A vital member of the operation is the family dog, a precocious German Shepard who refuses to go out on the route with the son: it's too radical a departure from custom. So the father must also make the son's inaugural trip with him, to get the dog to go along. It's a good thing, too. Because there is much for the young man to learn that the dog alone could not have taught him.

For example, there is a blind woman living on an isolated farm who gets letters from her son living in the city. Actually he only sends money, never a personal note. So the father has made up letters from him to "read" to her over the years. In a small village, everyone turns out and the son can see that his father is deeply revered by the villagers as an important state official and singular link to the larger world.

The father also has some lessons to learn from his son, about village life back home, and the wants and needs of his mother, for the father has truly remained a stranger there through the years. The screenplay was adapted from a short story with the delightful title: "That Postman, That Mountain, That Dog."

The film won the 1999 Chinese Golden Rooster (Jin Ji) awards for best film and best actor (Mr. Ten). It also has been highly popular in Japan. An English subtitled cut was only prepared in 2003 and its distribution in the U.S. began just in mid-autumn, 2004. A gorgeous film about life's passages. (In Mandarin). My rating: 8/10 (B+). (Seen on 03/25/05). If you'd like to read more of my reviews, send me a message for directions to my websites.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A gem of a film

Author: leonard2 from gothamcity
30 September 2002

Several months after seeing this film, it still has an impact on me. I can visualise the scene where the son piggy-backs the father across the river, the scene where the son reads the letter to the old lady etc. So little is said in this film, but it is pregnant with meaning. It has been a long time since a film touched me so deeply.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

the scenes that touched me most.

Author: gangadhar panday ( from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
19 February 2002

i saw the film during a recently held chinese film festival. i am happy i saw. this is the first film that i saw where the lead characters have no names! 1. the following scenes touched me the most. the father suffers from knee/leg pain. the son arranges the letters, the air blows off the letters. the father DASHES off and the Dog chips in, simply superb.

2. The son carries the father on his back across the river. on reaching the father turns away his face from the son to wipe his tears.

3. the interplay between the father, the son and the dog when they leave their house on work.

i thank the entire team for giving a wonderful movie to enjoy

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful, Beautiful Film

Author: jacob-nagle from United States
13 September 2008

Truly one of the best films I have ever seen. The landscape scenes are breathtaking. And the calm, balanced development is consuming. There is a peace and a serenity in this film that I can really only compare to what I used to feel when I would take long walks alone along the Chicago lake shore. I've also felt this kind of peace looking out over the Utah Salt Flats from the tops of the Pilot Mountains.

I don't know why this film is so hard to find in the U.S. market; all I can surmise is that American distributors are skeptical of the appeal a gentle, beautiful film. In an age, though, where we're bombarded constantly with terror alerts and hard-driving action films, I've got to believe that a film as quietly powerful as this could find audiences who will quickly be enchanted by a rural postman, his son, their dog, and the simple, wonderful villages they deliver the mail to.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Heart-warming and insightful

Author: dyi_tan from Philippines
10 April 2006

I was able to see the movie from a local channel that shows art films every week. The film is about a father passing on his work as a postman to his son. It is about family, home, traditions, and relationships. There's so many lessons in life that one would pick up from this movie.

There are good character developments especially for the son who got to know and understand more about his father's life. He saw a different side of his father through the people his father delivered letters to. In addition, the people that the father and son encountered along their journey are unique. One would be able to relate to them one way or another.

The film showed a lot of cultural traditions and sceneries such as rice fields, stream, mountain roads, sunsets, wedding festivals, traditional houses, weaving, and more. These small details give the film the right feel and atmosphere.

One would definitely gain a lot of insights by simply watching the film. The film is a reminder that one should appreciate the small things in life and the things we take for granted.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Simple, beautiful and romantic

Author: Jonas from Vilnius, Lithuania
6 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watch out, SOME SPOILERS!!!

While seeing this beautiful film I immediately remembered 'Not One Less' by Zhang Yimou which was a film is quite a similar manner as "Postmen in the Mountains'. The story is about father and his son who is taking over his father's job. The son thinks he already knows everything about his new job and it seemed to be easy for him but during his first days of being a postman he realises what the job is really all about, he has lots of new experiences and meets many new people, perhaps even his new love.

There are quite many scenes which being very simple manage to show the essence of humanity and relationships of people. For example as the father and the son are leaving a village they were passing the son is surprised to see a crowd of people staring at them. The father explains that all they came here to see his son - the new postman. Or the scene as the son is carrying his father though a river, or as the son is reading a letter to a blind old woman even though there's nothing written in it... Those moments are the most valuable moments of this film and makes it just beautiful. It's a 10/10

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