'Yellow Earth' focuses on the story of a communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution. There he stays with a peasant family and learns... See full summary »
The Chief of Construction Committee leaps to his death from a tall building. Yang Jiadong, a rookie cop begins investigating it. Forced out of his job and to the safety of Hong Kong, he endeavors to discover the truth.
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A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »
In eighteenth-century France a girl (Suzanne Simonin) is forced against her will to take vows as a nun. Three mothers superior (Madame de Moni, Sister Sainte-Christine, and Madame de ... See full summary »
When a leprous winery owner in 1930s China dies a few days after his arranged marriage, his young widow is forced to run the winery to make a living while contending with bandits, her drunkard lover, and the invading Japanese army.
An unschooled young man, one of the countless victims of Mao's Cultural Revolution, is labouring in the countryside when he is suddenly assigned to teach in a near-by village school. Gradually, he finds the confidence to ditch the Maoist textbook and 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.
For viewers who are already familiar with the Cultural Revolution, <<King of the Children>> is a subtle commentary on that era. Chen Kaige uses humour and philosophy to address the issues of the Cultural Revolution, and he creates a space for the adults who suffered during that period and the children who followed them.
Part of what makes this movie a masterpiece is the cinematography. Chen Kaige focuses on the vast landscapes of western China. The imagery reflects on personal and political aspects of Taoism through which the director has processed China's modern history.
For viewers who are not familiar with history, the movie will still have a profound effect. The themes are universal: how do we transmit our knowledge and/or our wisdom to the generation which follows us? How do we balance political problems with personal growth?
Another part of this movie's success is its humour. Chen Kaige portrays irony in the politicking of the state and the lives of the characters. Fans of <<The Dead Poets' Society>> will appreciate the hero's tactics teaching a class of children without books or paper, while the school administrators store stacks of books and papers in their offices.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants to better understand the Fifth Generation directors and the challenges of Chinese cinema shortly following the Cultural Revolution.
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