Shenzhen businessman, Da Ming, goes home to Beijing when he thinks his father has died. He finds his father hard at work at the family's bathhouse (the false message was a ruse of Da's ... See full summary »
A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »
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 »
In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each ... See full summary »
Wang Bianlian is an aging street performer known as the King of Mask for his mastery of Sichuan Change Art in a true story. His wife left him with and infant son over 30 years ago. The son ... See full summary »
Set in Fenyang, Shanxi Province, the film focuses on a group of amateur theatre troupe performers whose fate mirrors that of the general population in China as massive socio-economic ... See full summary »
A moving road movie about two retired bus drivers, old Zhou and old Ge, who find themselves in the same retirement home and decide to escape for one final escapade with a gang of other senior citizens.
'Aiqing mala tang' ('Spicy Love Soup') starts with a young couple eating sweet (or sour) and spicy soup from a two-sided bowl shaped in a Yin and Yang pattern. Until the couple's wedding at... See full summary »
Shenzhen businessman, Da Ming, goes home to Beijing when he thinks his father has died. He finds his father hard at work at the family's bathhouse (the false message was a ruse of Da's mentally-handicapped, exuberant brother, Er Ming, to get Da home). Da stays a couple days, observing his father being social director, marriage counselor, and dispute mediator for his customers and a boon companion to Er. Da is caught between worlds: the decaying district of his childhood and the booming south where he now lives with a wife who's not met his family. When Da realizes his father's health is failing and the district is slated for razing, he must take stock of family and future. Written by
On the basis of the preview I'd seen, I went to "Shower" expecting a sweet little comedy; what I found was a profoundly touching drama of family life told in some of the most lush photographic images I've ever been privileged to see. In addition, later reflection made me appreciate the abrupt cuts to scenes from the past (in the arid countryside of Northern China, and in the high plain of Tibet): isn't this how memory often works? One moment I'm here, the next I'm in a landscape from the past, just like that....
I would not only strongly recommend this film, I would place it among the two or three finest films I've seen in my 60 years.
By the way, a couple of years ago another Asian "comedy" was released in the United States as "Shall We Dance?" (Japanese). Just as with "Shower," the preview gave not the slightest indication of the depth of that film, which turned out to be a subtle psychological study (albeit chock full of funny moments). Is there a fear, on the part of distributors, of making films appear too "important" or "deep" to appeal to U. S. viewers?
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