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Human feelings are universal whether you are a Chinese living in a crowded
and vulgar country village or an American living in a comfortable and
affluent suburban neighborhood. However, the experiences are different
enough that there are subtleties in this Chinese film that only Chinese
I never wrote an online comment of a film before even though I have read a great deal. Unlike most of other films, comments on Chen Kaige's "together" is surprisingly divided into two extremes: love it or hate it. Maybe this observation prompted me to write something to express my feelings during and after watching this film.
I grew up in a small town in rural China, very much like the one shown in the film. My father isn't a "vulgar" peasant as the father in the film, and I wasn't a "prodigy" of anything by any measures either. The kind of strong character and sensitivity the kid showed is something I wish I had when I was a teenager. The incredible sacrifice and love the father showed in the film is also a bit surreal to me. In other words, my experience is much more real with little melodrama involved.
However, the film actually made me cry when sitting in the cinema, not just because of the melodrama and the music, more so because it made me miss my own father and remember many small moments between us that are not so much drama but only our daily experiences.
When I left cinema, I overheard a middle-aged American white couple in front of me making comments: "a cute little film, isn't it?" I can tell from the dialogue that they experienced different things when watching the film because they appreciate the details of ordinary Chinese life such as how the coal is used for heating tea. To me, those details are not novelties to appreciate, they WERE my existence and everyday experiences.
I will stop here not to violate the IMDB guideline. After all, everyone's experience is unique. Everyone has their ethos deep from their upbringing and culture. I am just glad that this film brings me a Chinese experience of love between a father and a son that I can relate to.
I didn't have many expectations for this film having long since lost my
patience for subtitles and slow-moving foreign films. This film was a
pleasant surprise. A beautifully rendered story about the sacrifices we
make for art, the sacrifices parents make for children, and the
teachers make for their students. I found myself thinking about the
questions in life as I watched Han ni zai yiki--the struggles of the
protagonist to become a man, the heart-breaking dilemma that allows his
father to become one as well, and the ways in which we lose our ways in
life, and luckily how the entry of a new love (in its platonic sense)
get us back on the path.
At its center, Han ni zai yiki is the story of a father and his son. Never have I seen this relationship told with such honesty and impact. Instead of a perfect father giving pearls of wisdom to a son eager for his approval, we see an imperfect man doing the best he can for a son who is not necessarily appreciative.
It is sentimental, but that doesn't stop it from being thought-provoking, or from teaching the viewer something he or she is likely to have forgotten in this age of kung-fu special effect sequences and digitized actors.
In the U.S. at least, we've been saturated with ever-dumber plot lines, plasticized breasts, and explosions to emphasize every character realization. It's unusual to go to the cinema to be treated to a real story with complex and realistic characters in difficult situations that actually have some bearing on our lives. Together was a breath of fresh air.
I hope that the negative opinions expressed earlier don't stop anyone from seeing this film. Although I'd waited four years to see the sequel to the Matrix, I'd have to say, without a doubt, Han ni zai yiki is the best film I've seen all year.
He ni zai yi qi (or Together) is the stirring story of a young violin protege, Xiaochun, competing in the cutthroat world of Chinese classical music. Xiaochun's father dreams only of his son's success and goes to great lengths to accomplish this goal. Each character is developed and interesting and viewers will find themselves sympathisizing not only with Xiaochun, but with each person he comes in contact with. Director Chen Kaige weaves unique images together with a heartbreaking soundtrack to give this movie a definite feeling of realism. The acting by Tang Yun (Xiaochun) and Liu Peiqi (Liu Chen)is heartfelt and endearing. This is another example of quality Chinese-made cinema worth missing a few Hollywood run-of-the-mill flicks for. This is a definite don't miss.
I rent this movie because a promotion (pay 2 rents, take 3 movies), And
what a surprise. OK, I don't wash to much "Chinise Movies", here in
México people are custom to the American Movies, but renting these
movie is a great option.
Is about a kid with so much talent (palying a violin) that his father does practically everything to help him become a star, but he is just a kid and plays because his father ask him. The different people that the kid knows and the way his talent is absorbing friends to help him is moving. The music in the movies is splendid, characters and performance of actors are great, and let you understand the way people live in china in the 80's. Contains no violence or aggressive scenes, quiet good scrip.
I don't know a movie that I can compare with this, sorry.
I enjoy the end, despite my friend said wasn't good enough, but if you like music and a familiar movie, this is a must see movie.
I really liked this movie. I studied the violin for 8 years so I felt a
strong connection to the film. The story is a touching tale about a child
violin genius who goes to Beijing with his father and finds the best teacher
he can. Truly the story is really about the love of a man for his son. The
father shows the deepest emotion and devotion for his son throughout the
movie. Unless your heart is made of stone and smaller than the Grinchs
before it grew two sizes, you can't help but feel something for how much the
son loves his father.
The music in the film is a nice selection of up-beat, touching, sentimental and refreshing. The emotion and message of feeling the music is executed with musical brilliance. The pieces are played exquisitely and even if your not into classical or violin you should still be entertained.
I realize this film may not be for some people or if your not in a particular mood. But if it sounds interesting you won't be disappointed in its poignant delight.
The kid and his father do a great job making this work. The plot twist
is very powerful. The musicianship is incredible. If you don't cry at
the end, you're made of stone... I don't care how cynical you are.
Movie does make use of several clichés about music teachers, but the funny thing is, a lot of music teachers are that cliché! And the classical music world is very political, as portrayed. And great musicianship IS a function of more than just fast fingers, as portrayed. The toughest part of this is how a country bumpkin learned to be that good in the first place. Who was his teacher?
Anyway, I highly recommend it.
This is a wonderful film. On the surface it's about a musically gifted 13 year old boy from the country going with his father to seek fame and fortune. Underneath, it's about hundreds of things. Just like Tous les Matins du Monde it's about music but also about how people lose the love of music through the events that befall them. What I notice about "Together" (He ni zai yi qi) is the theme of ownership -- how it eludes those who seek it in music. The acclaimed music teacher, Professor Yu, reminisces in class on how much he loved music, how his love of Vivaldi flourished during the Cultural Revolution despite the threat he was under. But now at the height of his fame he does not enjoy music any more; he only enjoys power. The boy's other music teacher has lost his love of music by becoming dispirited and his life has become decrepit. But the film has many other themes. It could be about the inarticulacy of adolescence, especially one burdened with impossibly difficult feelings. It could also be an allegory about China. I watched it as "Together" with English subtitles, but one sensed that in Chinese it had other layers of meaning -- the notion of the scholar as venerated in Chinese society, for instance. There are some things not quite realized and the ending is soft-centered, but the acting by the son and especially his father is gripping. It's a film that would repay repeated viewings.
Here is fairly pleasant story of a 13-year-old violin prodigy and his
financially-strapped father try to get the boy professional help to aid
in the kid's musical career. The father is a bit on the pushy side but
he has a good heart and he's pretty comical, too. The young teen is a
likable kid and the other main characters - two of his teachers and the
"big sister" - are all interesting people.
The dialog, as with many "foreign" films, is different from what we are used to hearing in North America and I, for one, find it appealing.
At almost two hours, this might be a bit long for most people to put up with subtitles, but I didn't find that a hindrance in keeping focused on this story. Along the way, you get to enjoy some excellent violin playing, too. People who like amiable-character stories and good music should enjoy this very much.
I have just seen this movie at a press screening here in Amsterdam and
say this was one hell of a movie!
Hell in the positive way!
Every time Xiaochung( my Chinese is rusty) ended his concert, I wanted to
stand up and applaud!
Story: 13-years old young boy travels with his father to the big city.The father has one goal: to make his son this best violin player. He tries to get him the best professor, but that is not enough. In the real world you need more. The professor realizes this but in China honor is very important. The boy thinks he has failed, but later on he understands. Particular the role of the father was wonderful. He wants the best for his son but hasn't the means to make it work. Xiaochung also discovers another part of growing.
I very much liked this movie, maybe because I am fan of Chinese movies, maybe because I have been there. There is drama, humor, very good music and a piece of the Chinese culture in this fantastic movie. By the way, the movie is from the director of Farewell to My Concubine, need I say more?
The positive things are all you can imagine and more. The acting is
casting just right, the music is spectacular as are the performances, and
the story is nice
with a little surprise beginning slowly half way thru and blossoming near
Except for that there are no real unpredictable moments. The interplay
story and music is accomplished masterfully. I remember listening to many
selections as a boy and how the emotions in the music generated tears. The
emotions are here and yet amplified by the conditions in the lives of the
people and the
needs that drive them. You know the story: a peasant father whose son is a
and who sacrifices everything to move to a big city so the boy can have
instruction and rightfully achieve fame and fortune. The boy's mother died
when he was
a baby and the only thing she left him was a violin, the same one he plays
cherishes because of her. His talent is recognized by a master teacher who
long ago has
lost the woman he loved and has withdrawn from society with the exceptions
for stray cats and teaching untalented students - for his survival. There
a nice minor
theme in the relationship between the teacher sinking and the student
secondary theme develops between the boy and a woman he sees and meets at
station. She is a man chaser and the boy sees beauty and fun in her
beginning with an
argument with her boyfriend who she kisses on parting. It turns out that
boy live near to each other and he plays violin for her. Because of her,
to change teachers and convinces an up-scale teacher to work with the boy.
reluctantly accepts; however, the boy doesn't want to leave the first
energy to drive the plot.
Negative things, which likely trigger the PG label are, in my opinion, minimal. The boy has pictures of women he places in his music books. At first you are to think he is a naughty little boy; indeed, the father accuses him so, and yet you realize eventually that the pictures represent the mother he never met. The boy is enamored by the woman he meets in the train station; he even helps her prepare a party for her boyfriend; and goes with her when she shops. The father gets angry with him; hits him, likely for the first time; takes the picture of the lady away; and the boy hits back, unacceptable in his culture. Also, some of the women are portrayed as mean in their verbal attacks and this includes a young female violinist. The movie should be fine for any child who can read or understand that Chinese dialect. I'd like to see it again and I'll buy the DVD when it is released.
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