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In 1971 China, in the lingering grip of the cultural revolution, two university students, Luo and Ma, are sent to a mountain mining village as part of their reeducation duty to purge them of their classical western oriented education. Amid the backbreaking work and stifling ignorance of the community, the two boys find that music, and the presence of the beautiful local young women are the only pleasant things in their miserable life. However, none compare to the young seamstress granddaughter of the local tailor. Stealing a departing student's secret cache of forbidden books of classic western literature such as the works of Honore de Balzac, they set about to woo her and teach her things she had never imagined. In doing so, they start a journey that would profoundly change her perspective on her world and teach the boys about the power of literature and their own ability to change their world in truly revolutionary ways. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
a beautiful movie about friendship and how experiences change people
I was really moved by the portrayal of the friendship of the Little Seamstress, Ma, and Luo, and how their lives were changed by their experience in the mountains in this brief span of time. The mountains were beautiful, the re-educators were not presented as monsters, and the acting, esp Xun Zho as Little Seamstress and Ye Liu as Ma was really good. Xun Zho reminded me of the young Gong Li in Red Sorghum. Most importantly, I rediscovered how lucky I am to be able to read and watch what I want when I want, and how I am almost obligated to take advantage of my freedom to read and watch movies.
For me, the filming was never as strong as the better Asian movies but once the movie got going the filming became stronger as did the movie.
The character of the harshness of the cultural revolution in China in the 60's was shown thru a politically soft-focus lens, but I did not mind this as there are more than enough Chinese movies that have leaned in the other direction, and for me, this was a movie about friendship and love in a political and cultural setting, not the other way around which matches my own personal preferences.
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