The Sun Also Rises (2007)
Jiang Wen stars in his third directorial work that boasts a stellar cast including Joan Chen, Anthony Wong and Jaycee Chan. A polyptych of interconnected stories in different time-zones, shifting between a Yunnan village, a campus, and the Gobi Desert.
- The movie details several interconnected stories.
In the first story, the mother of an 18 year old boy in the countryside of revolutionary China 1976 begins acting strangely once she falls out of a tree trying to retrieve a pair of her shoes that a magical bird, which was repeating "I know, I know, I know" had stolen. Among her antics are: trying to straighten out a crooked tree by digging under it and removing rocks, reciting a poem over and over again from the rooftop, telling her son that her uncle is dead even though he is obviously right there, burning her sons fingers with a match, destroying all the letters from her husband (who supposedly is dead and who her son has never met), and shouting something seemingly nonsensical from the top of tree. Suddenly she seems to return to normal. But right after that, we see her clothes floating down a river and are supposed to think she has killed herself.
In the second story a teacher at a university in Shanghai (same time, 1976) is falsely accused of groping a female doctor at a film (where he is chased down and beaten by a crowd). In a hilarious scene, the woman goes to the police and tries to identify who squeezed her rearend by having a "lineup" where various suspects squeeze her from behind a cloth screen. The woman actually has accused the teacher in order to divert attention from the fact that she is having an affair with a married teacher. The story ends with the first teacher hanging himself.
The last story connects the two tales. At the point where the first story ended, with the boy being told of his mothers suicide, we see that in fact he was bringing the teacher from the previous story (the one who was having the affair with the doctor) to the countryside for "reeducation." The teacher, who is now with his wife, turns out to be a good hunter and spends most of his time taking the boys hunting. But he is neglecting his wife who ends up having an affair with the young boy whose mother has just disappeared.
At the end, the movie flashes back 18 years. We see two young women on camels in the desert. One is on her way to meet a man she is going to marry, the other woman is silent. At one point, they split up. We find that the couple who are to be married is actually the same couple who is now in the countryside for reeducation, while the woman who does not say anything is actually the crazy lady of the first story, who is pregnant and is going claim the possessions of her dead husband. The man, who was Chinese but whose Russian name is Alyosha, had gone to fight for Russia. The pregnant woman, though, does not believe the husband is dead but simply that he wants to avoid responsibility for the child. On the train back, the woman has the baby, who falls off the train and magically lands in a pile of flowers an the railroad track and must be retreived. In the last scene, we see the woman shouting from the top of the train the same thing she was shouting from the top of the tree in the first story. It is: "Aloysha, dont be afraid, the sun rises at a high place; once the baby cries the sky lights up"