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Shan zha shu zhi lian/Under The Hawthorn Tree (2010) is a very romantic film. It is a tear-jerker. It is also beautifully made and can be added to the extensive list of classic movies directed by Yimou Zhang.
If you are familiar with the languid style of some Asian cinema, then this film is spectacularly rewarding and intensely moving.
This film represents a young generation brought up in an atmosphere of fear and paranoia, cultivated by Mao Zedong and his insidious rule. These characters have been moulded into automatons with their natural impulses cruelly suppressed.
Zhou Dongyu is brilliant as the young and inexperienced Jingqiu and Dou Xiao is utterly charming as the male love interest.
It seems that many in the West have misunderstood this film. One critic calls this film "emotionally emaciated". How wrong can someone be?
Maybe the undeservedly poor rating on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes is because there are no psychotic ballerinas with self-mutilation fetishes or protracted gun fights within CGI dreams?
One thing is for sure, Under The Hawthorn Tree is a brilliant piece of filmmaking.
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