Jiang Wen stars in his third directorial work that boasts a stellar cast including Joan Chen, Anthony Wong and Jaycee Chan. A polyptych of interconnected stories in different time-zones, ... See full summary »
A Chinese emissary is sent to the Gobi desert to execute a renegade soldier. When a caravan transporting a Buddhist monk and a valuable treasure is threatened by thieves, however, the two warriors might unite to protect the travelers.
In 1930s China a young woman is sent by her father to marry the leprous owner of a winery. In the nearby red sorghum fields she falls for one of his servants. When the master dies she finds... See full summary »
Small-town policeman Ma Shan wakes up one morning to discover that his gun is missing. During his search, things take a sinister turn when his first love turns up dead and the bullet appears to be from his gun.
A semi-literate who was deprived of schooling during the Cultural Revolution, Li Huiquan, is released from labor camp. But his attempts to make good are continually thwarted. His street ... See full summary »
During the Japanese occupation of China, two prisoners are dumped in a peasant's home in a small town. The owner is bullied into keeping the prisoners until the next New Year, at which time... 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 »
A spurned lover seeks a rich man for revenge. A random onlooker -- who witnessed the public assault committed by the rich man against the lover -- seeks for monetary compensation for his ... See full summary »
Three thieves try to steal a valuable jade that is tightly guarded by a security chief. But the security guards are not the only obstacle these thieves are facing. An extremely unlucky ... See full summary »
Peking, 1948. A winter night. A man returns home to find a letter awaiting him written by a woman before her death. in the letter she tells him the story of her love for him -a life-long ... See full summary »
Jiang Wen stars in his third directorial work that boasts a stellar cast including Joan Chen, Anthony Wong and Jaycee Chan. A polyptych of interconnected stories in different time-zones, shifting between a Yunnan village, a campus, and the Gobi Desert. Written by
Jiang Wen is pretty much the most popular mainland Chinese director/actor at present. But whenever I watch any of his movies I can't help feeling that it might be useful being Chinese myself so I could better catch more of the social commentary and humor, which are apparently plentiful in all of his movies. But I am not Chinese, and so Jiang Wen is one of the few directors, whose movies leave me behind feeling stupid and somehow a little guilty for not "getting them", because there is supposedly so much to "get"...
But I also can't help feeling that his movies are pretending to be more than they really are. This is especially true for this movie, which I enjoyed the least of the three Jiang Wen movies I have seen so far (the other two being "Devils on the Doorstep" and "Let the Bullets Fly"). The set-up is really nice, there are interesting characters and stories introduced. First we see one story in one part of the country, then another story in another part of the country, then one character from the second story going to the first setting and encountering characters from there, and then we get to see a flash-back which ties it all together and wraps the whole thing up. And it all works out pretty nicely with very, very beautiful music and sometimes hilarious scenes going on.
BUT there is constantly some surreal sh!t happening that doesn't make any sense at all! We have a goat falling from a tree, a piece of grass and dirt floating on a stream leading to a house built with round rocks, a man committing suicide right after all his problems have been solved and a girl giving birth to a baby on a moving train while she is peeing through a hole on the track, thus dropping the baby on the flower covered train track - just to name a few of those moments. I've read that these events are for the most part supposed to symbolize the crazy futility of the cultural revolution, which is the time-setting of the majority of the film. What?! Really?! Come on! I'm sure there are better ways to depict the futility of the cultural revolution than having something completely (!) random happening in the movie all the time...
Another thing that i found pretty annoying is that Jiang Wen seems to like using unresolved plot lines as a cheap means to have people discuss and think about the movie afterwards. He simply has plot lines ending abruptly or not showing them any more. That doesn't make it deeper, it just makes it a bigger mess.
If you want to watch a movie by Jiang Wen, don't start with this one!
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