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In my country you can "rent" DVD and VHS movies for free at the local libraries. One day I visited my local library and picked out a few random dvds and went home to have a movie marathon-weekend. One of these dvds was "The Road Home". By looking at the cover, I didn't think this was a movie for me, but anyhow I started watching it late at night. After the first few minutes had passed I thought it looked like a pretty boring movie. The first scenes are shot in black and white from a snow covered little village somewhere in the Chinese wilderness... I quickly decided to turn it off and hit the bed. The next day I had little to do. The weather outside was crap so I decided to stay in. I got bored and had nothing to do so I reluctantly started watching "The Road Home" from where I left off... This is probably one of the best things I've done so far in my life ;-) Since that day I've bought the DVD and seen the movies about 4-5 times and it's simply one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen (and I've seen a few!)... To give you an idea: I persuaded two of my best friends to join me watching the movie. They didn't have high expectations as this is as far from the Hollywood action they normally favourise when going to rent a movie. They are men in their 30's and one of them is a pretty "macho" guy. When the end-titles started scrolling, both of them had to wipe their eyes :-))) They where actually crying! I guess this is more of a story than a movie review, but I hope it's enough to give this movie the attention it deserves ;-)
How often do we wonder, or take the time to reflect upon, how it is that we
came to be where we are? How much do we know of what went before us; or
more specifically, of the past that directly affected who and what we are
today. Moreover, is it important, or anything we need to know or should?
How significant, really, is our past in relation to the present? According
to director Yimou Zhang, these questions are not only valid but of paramount
importance, which he aptly illustrates in his lyrically beautiful film, `The
Road Home,' written for the screen by Shi Bao, adapted from his own novel,
`Remembrance.' Without question, at the heart of the film is a monumental
yet simple story of true love in the purest sense, and of the devotion which
renders that love eternal. But the film transcends even that, and within
the greater context indicates the impact of the past upon the present, which
is summed up in a single line from the film: `Know the past, know the
present.' And know, too, that the love portrayed in this story is the kind
of love that is abiding, and that which sustains all that makes life worth
living. It's a veritable journey of the soul; one that will touch you
deeply and linger in your memory long after the screen has gone
Upon receiving the news that his father has died, Luo Yusheng (Honglei Sun) leaves the city to return to his home, a small village in the mountains, to bury his father and comfort his bereaved mother, Zhao Di (Yulian Zhao). When he arrives, however, he discovers that his mother will not be consoled until her wish concerning the burial of her husband, Luo Changyu (Hao Zheng) is fulfilled. In keeping with a long standing tradition and superstition, Di insists that his coffin be carried by hand by the men of the village along the road connecting the village and the city, insuring by so doing that in death Changyu will always be able to remember his way home.
Yusheng quickly finds that realizing his mother's request will be no easy task; their village is small and all of the able-bodied men have left for the city, leaving only children and those too old for such an arduous undertaking. And it is winter, a harsh time of year in the mountains. But Di is adamant, and so Yusheng sets about the business of fulfilling her request. And as he does so, he reflects upon the story of his parents; a story well known throughout the village, for theirs was a love that was unbridled and boundless, the likes of which no one in the village had ever know before. Or since.
This film, so wonderfully crafted and delivered by director Zhang, is altogether ethereal and transporting; he tells the story in simplistic terms, and yet it is in that very simplicity that he finds the genuine honesty and truth that provides such an emotional impact and makes this love story one that rivals any the screen has ever known. Aided by the masterful cinematography of Yong Hou, Zhang achieves that same sense of transcendence that defines much of Akira Kurosawa's films, such as `Ran' and `Akira Kurosawa's Dreams,' or Ang Lee's `Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.' There is not a superfluous moment in the entire film, and Zhang proves that capturing pure emotion with the camera can express more than pages of dialogue recited by an actor. And with his lens, Zhang opens up the very heart of the film and lays it bare for all to see and feel, finding more in the eyes of his characters and in their expressions than words could ever convey. It's a study of human nature that is disarming in it's candor, and quite simply a brilliant piece of filmmaking by a director with an irrefutably incisive understanding of the human condition.
Without question, though, the single aspect that makes this such an unforgettable film is the performance (in her motion picture debut) by Ziyi Zhang as the young Zhao Di. A young woman of exquisite beauty, she has a sublime screen presence that is a portrait of the angelic, and her innate ability to silently express the myriad emotions called for by her character is used to great effect by director Zhang. Ziyi's portrayal is one of youthful innocence mixed with stubborn determination, which gives her character the necessary depth to be entirely convincing, and she will win you over in a heartbeat. She is so affecting that near the end, when Di, now an old woman, is hurrying across a rickety foot bridge, the same bridge we've seen the young Di traverse many times on her way to and from the schoolhouse (which is central to the story), despite the weathered age so evident on her face, because of the lasting impression made by Ziyi, you realize that she still bears the heart of the young woman you've come to care so much about by this time, and you understand that age is superficial; that this is a shell housing the spirit and the true beauty that resides within. It's a beautiful moment to behold, and ours forever, due to the extraordinary performance and presence of the delicate Ziyi Zhang, as well as the tremendous sensitivity and care with which she is presented by director Zhang.
The supporting cast includes Bin Li (Grandmother), Guifa Chang (Old Mayor), Wencheng Sung (Mayor) and Zhongxi Zhang (Crockery Repairman). A love story told sincerely from the heart is a treasure that endures forever, like a painting by Monet or Renoir; and like those artists, director Zhang is nothing less than an impressionist behind the camera, capturing the distinctive rhythms of life and love for all time in `The Road Home,' a gentle, poetic film that will make it's way into the hearts of all who experience it. And therein remain, forevermore. 10/10.
This movie is a roller-coaster between joy and sorrow, one moment
you're crying when the love of her life leaves the village, only to cry
from happiness five minutes later when she finds a lost item given to
her by the same man. I do not think I have ever seen such a beautiful
story and screenplay. Many times during the movie I was brought to
tears. Both from sadness as well as from happiness. I have just seen
Ziyi Zhang in a marvelous part I will never forget. She deserves an
Oscar for the part she played if you ask me,
no one has ever moved me as much as she just did, I still have tears in my eyes...
For fans of faster-paced movies, be forewarned: this is extremely slow.
For others who love a beautifully-filmed movie or a touching romance
story, this Chinese film will do nicely.
Zhang Ziyi, who has now become an International star thanks to Crouching Tiger, Hero, House Of Flying Daggers and Memoirs Of A Geisha, never looked prettier and more appealing than here. Maybe that's because she plays such a sweet, innocent, non-violent (no martial arts here) character: a woman smitten with a new teacher in town and one who will go any lengths (in a totally pure sense) to be noticed and attract this man, mainly in the form of incredible patience.
This is one of the prettiest movies I've seen on DVD. It helps to be a fan of Ziyi and appreciate her beauty, because there are many shots of her face as she just stares looking for her man. This character gives new meanings to the words faithful, steadfast and devotion.
The film is actually two stories: the here-and-now about an old man and woman, and a long flashback telling the love story of how they met. In the first segment, the man had just died and the woman is grieving and making funeral arrangements. They involve walking with the casket a long way home, hence the title. The middle part of the film, the romance, features Ziyi. That middle segment - the courtship - is in brilliant, almost stunning-looking color. The beginning and end of the film are both in black-and-white. The cinematography for both parts is magnificent.
This film tells the story of innocence and love. It's is not overly
sentimental and performances are honest and sincere. The change in color is
very symbolic as happy memories are depicted with plush colors. Zhang Ziyi
as Zhao Di is really great here as her determination, will, and very giving
nature makes her all the more likeable. Her sweet smile is very infectious!
I was moved when she accidentally falls and drops here bag while running;
emphasized the whole importance of the bowl. Very moving
Director Zhang Yimou deserves credit for beautifully telling the story. Simple things (changing color of season from spring to winter) make for some stunning visuals like wheat fields flowing with the breeze and brightly leaf filled forests. Add a serene soundtrack and this is a movie worth seeing. See it for my sweetie Zhang Ziyi!
I have always been a big fan of Zhang Zimou, the director of this film. I have seen several of his films..To Live, Raise the Red Lantern and most recently Hero. The Road Home is a sensitive and beautiful film centering on the story of the courtship between between a young country girl and a teacher..The story is simple yet poignant and the actors are wonderful! The scenery is breathtaking and Zhang tells the story in a hushed tone and lets it unwind to it's emotionally wrenching conclusion..I highly recommend this movie for the culture, the story and the wonderfully understated acting..such a refreshing change of pace from the "in your face" mainstream films of today...
OK, just saw it and read some reviews here. Thought I give a little input from my perspective. I came back from a good workout. Did some heavy bag training probably punched enough to knockout one hundred grown men. OK granted bags don't punch back or imply that I could last even one round against a pro but just to show that I'm no baby. I rarely cry if ever ;) Can't remember the last time I did at least. Well this night I cried like a little baby in this one. Can't put my hand around why either. Maybe it's the Oscar worthy performance from the beautiful actress Zhang Ziyi. Her performance pulled me in with her acting, her beautiful face, images of her braided pig tail hair flapping in the wind as she cutely trotted down the dirt path, her mandarin youthful voice and so on and so on. Or it could be what I think got to be the most stunning natural scenery I have ever seen captured in cinema. Spring, summer, fall, winter like the natural flow of life itself. Or it could be Zhang Ziyi IN the beautiful stunning scenic back drop that did it. Maybe it could be the music, the serene nostalgic music that strikes the chord in my heart. One reviewer put it Celtic like with Chinese flavor. But you guessed it, it's all the combination of the above weaved(pun intended for those who saw the movie) into such a simple, pure story of love and innocence. The story is simple yes but in the simplicity lies the complexity that is life. If I sit to examine the movie, I could write a thesis on lessons learned from watching this movie or more correctly lessons I already know from living but are brought out to the forefront from watching this movie. As a reviewer, I am opinionated and as such my view is always right unless shown otherwise. I'm a reasonable man after all. So for those who say it's too simple...idiots. You haven't reflected enough. For those who say the stories have been filmed time and time before and just a rehash...morons. Watch the movie again and talked to the idiots who have reflected enough. For those who thinks it's too slow or no action...schmuck get help for your ADD and then talk to the morons who talked to the idiots. OK don't take my criticism too seriously it's all in good humor. To each your own opinion. I care not to dive into the complexity of this movie. I neither have the time nor the motivation to write a long, long review. It's a very good movie to just enjoy and savor after getting bombarded with today's Hollywood pyrotechnics, special effect movies (titanic cough cough). And maybe you will be able to find complexity and truth in this simple little gem of a movie.
From the first frames of this classic tale of love, I was absolutely
drawn in to feel as though I was taken from a movie and into a tale of
the story of two people who fell in love. There was no sappy story, and
actually, there wasn't even a single kiss. But one could feel a sense
of passion and love from all the characters and those who had a hand in
completing this elegant tale. My goodness, I didn't feel as though I
were watching people acting. I felt as if they were the actual people.
The elders, towns folk, and main characters all embraced their roles
down to the last thread of clothing, and it seems as though the
location was an actual remote town. There was only a simple plot, where
a son returns home by the request of the mayor, to a town where a
grieving mother has to bury her husband, who once had taught at the
The writing was crafted quite well. The cast and crew's work showed their dedication. Definitely a movie for all ages, but a must for those who still believe in love and destiny. Although it's a tear- jerker, it's because the viewer feels for the characters, not because we had been force- fed sentimental moments. No one was killed, not a shot was fired, no cute animals, and no scenes of kissing. I'm trying to even remember if the mother and father had even held hands, yet one can feel that they both truly loved each other. Kudos to director Zhang Yimou, who crafted a thoughtful, moving, and believable movie.
The Road Home is a movie about a very standard and simple love on the
site story. The beauty is in the great acting and the spirit that comes
of the actors.
I liked a lot to watch how people in such villages live and how they dress and the movie gave attention to many daily events of those people.
Again, the acting is gorgeous, but the values that the movie is showing is great also and the strong bounds in the family is there in the movie and you can see how much the love and respect of a sun would make him do to meet his mothers wishes and how grateful student can be to a teacher gave his life to them.
Another point that I liked in the movie is how the director use color. In the current events, you will see black and white scenes and when flashbacks start the colors will come a life. The old days are better and there was the real life for the characters of this movie not the current days, except for the day the sun took his father's place in the school and start teaching the students of the village.
Great movie that I would love to watch again and again.
Once more I watched a Chinese film and again I liked it. It's amazing how I just love all the Chinese films I have seen. "Yi ge dou bu meng shao" (No One Less) is beautiful and touching; Ba Wang Bie Ji (Farewell My Cocunbine) is hard and true; and "Wo de fu qin mu qin" (The Road Home) is innocent and pure. Chinese films, like Iran ones, gets simples theme and develops them to something involving and beautiful. These movies have been a great descovering for me. here in "Wo de fun qin mu qin" a man comes back to his village in the mountains for his father funeral. There, he tells us the story of love his parents lived. That's the moment beautiful Ziyi Zhang enters the story. Her face is pretty and she has a great look. Besides the quality of the film, her face is a good reason to watch "Wo de fu qin mu qin".
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