7.1/10
534
7 user 8 critic

Life on a String (1991)

Bian zou bian chang (original title)
A blind man's master told him that after he has broken 1000 strings on his Banjo, he can open the Banjo to get a script for his eyes. After 60 years he broke the 1000th string...

Director:

Kaige Chen

Writers:

Kaige Chen, Tiesheng Shi (novel)
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Zhongyuan Liu Zhongyuan Liu ... Old Master
Lei Huang ... Shitou
Qing Xu ... Lanxiu
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ling Ma Ling Ma ... Noodle stall owner's wife
Erga Yao Erga Yao ... Retarded man at noodle stall
Jinzhan Zhang Jinzhan Zhang ... Lanxiu's father
Zhengyuan Zhang Zhengyuan Zhang ... Noodle stall owner / God of death
Ling Zhong Ling Zhong ... Pharmacist
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Storyline

A blind man's master told him that after he has broken 1000 strings on his Banjo, he can open the Banjo to get a script for his eyes. After 60 years he broke the 1000th string... Written by Zheng Wang <zhwang@das.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

China | Germany | UK

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

18 March 1992 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Life on a String See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Old Master: [singing during a conflict] Each of you is a person. Each of us is a person. Each of them is a person. When! Oh when did we learn to hate and resent one another, blame and cheat one another. Bully and make fun of one another, stop loving each other. When! Oh when did we start behaving like animals. Not like humans at all! When one person strikes another... one grieves, the other mourns. One is sad, the other weeps. Yet another becomes angry... angrier and angrier. And so once more one person ...
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User Reviews

 
A Lyrical, emotionally rich vision from Chen Kaige
9 July 2000 | by bcuojoeSee all my reviews

Few films have effected me as this one, a quiet gem that details the long life of a blind musician searching for purpose. He is considered a saint by the local villagers, often wisely singing on the pettiness of their quarrels, and the beauty of life and brotherhood...

As in Bergmans' 'Wild Strawberries', the protagonist is at a point in his life where death is around the corner. His one wish is to regain his sight, his hope had been sown by his own dying master. When a set amount of strings are plucked a secret compartment in his instrument will open, the cure inside.

The film is beatifully photographed, the acting heartfelt and believable, and the music,the music...

Well, the first time I saw this film, it wasn't from the beginning, in fact, I caught the last 10 minutes of it. The old man,singing to a crowd , finally excepting his fate. He muses the love that he felt for the villagers, and the disappointments and joys that came with his life. It was one of the most beautiful segments I had seen in film. I was actually brought to tears...

Overall an excellent film, and I'm looking foward to seeing this director's other work.

10 out of 10


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