'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 »
Not far from Shanghai, in a country town stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older ... 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.
To save the only child of the Zhao Family, whose entire clan was massacred at the hands of a nefarious minister, a doctor sacrifices his own son; after the Zhao child grows up, the doctor becomes intent on seeking his vengeance.
Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a ... See full summary »
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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