5 user 2 critic

King of the Children (1988)

Hai zi wang (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 17 March 1989 (Sweden)
This film is adapted from the novel of Ah Cheng. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a young man is assigned to teach in village school.


Kaige Chen


Cheng Ah (novel) (as A Cheng), Kaige Chen | 1 more credit »
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Yuan Xie ... Lao Gar
Xuewen Yang Xuewen Yang ... Wang Fu
Shaohua Chen Shaohua Chen ... Headmaster Chen
Caimei Zhang Caimei Zhang ... Laidi
Guoqing Xu Guoqing Xu ... Lao Hei
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bo Gao Bo Gao
Changwei Gu Changwei Gu ... Secretary Wu
Jianjun He Jianjun He
Tianxi Jia Tianxi Jia
Gang Le Gang Le ... Cowherd
Haichen Liu Haichen Liu ... Wang Qitong, Wang Fu's Father
Xiaolu Qiang Xiaolu Qiang
Jianjun Su Jianjun Su
Li Tan Li Tan
Tuo Tan Tuo Tan ... Village team-leader


During the Cultural Revolution, an unschooled young man is laboring in the countryside when he is suddenly assigned to teach in a near-by village school. Gradually, he finds the confidence to encourage the barely literate kids to write about their own lives and feelings. At the same time, through a series of dream-like meetings with a young cowherd, he begins to sense the possibilities of a life beyond the parameters of traditional education. Written by X

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based on novel | See All (1) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

User Reviews

The best of the director
23 October 2003 | by shuseiSee all my reviews

Sometimes it happens, but it happened to Cheng Kaige very sadly. I say about the cases when very talented young director, who could have become one of 10 greatest directors in history of cinema, loses his potential greatness by the underestimation of his best film. It happened to Sokurov's "The days of eclipse", but not so sadly. It didn't happen to Robert Bresson, because he had very strong will and faith.

Why,this vivid and human film with ambitious vision,did won nothing in Canne, without the most shameful prize for the most boring film!! Juries were fools? Or they refused to give Chinese director any honor to his artistic results(I say it not because I'm an Asian,but because I love film art)? I can't understand it at all.

"Hai zi wang" is cheerful as Jan Vigo' films, human as Kurosawa's best films, revolutional as Antonioni's best films, beautiful as Tarkovsky's best films. Yes, it has some weakness compared with them, but we can understand the reason. 1987 is the time, when all great directors of older generation had already done their best works or already died. And in China all progressive cinema hadn't shown. Studio system was dead almost everywhere in the world.

The result of this underestimation pushed the director toward Hollywood. The next film was still good, but not as "Hai zi wang". The film about two actors of traditional Chinese theater won in Canne, but is was completely different film, with Hollywood style.

The great director Cheng Kaige has lost his way...

We, spectator can still compensate for this. Just watch this human story, with philosophical depth and cinematographic novelty, and remember it as film art. And let's welcome and estimate properly when such films will appear next time.

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Release Date:

17 March 1989 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

King of the Children See more »

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Technical Specs


| (International Release)

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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