Under the Hawthorn Tree
Original title: Shan zha shu zhi lian
- 1h 54m
Romance sparks between a young woman and a young man from different economic backgrounds during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s.Romance sparks between a young woman and a young man from different economic backgrounds during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s.Romance sparks between a young woman and a young man from different economic backgrounds during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s.
"Under the Hawthorn Tree" tells the story of Jing, a naive city schoolgirl to be transferred to a remote village for "re-education" during the Cultural Revolution. In China's heavens reigns one solitary God, Mao. Jing's father has been jailed for "rightist" and her mother struggles to feed her three children. Jing knows that both their future and the welfare of her family depend, in view of the authorities, on their good behavior. A small error would be enough to ruin their lives. But Jing's prudent and peaceful existence is disrupted when she condescends to the attentions of Sun, the charming son of an elite military member. Due to the social gap separating them, a romance between them is unthinkable; even more so, dangerous. But the attraction is mutual, powerful and undeniable. Jing tries to resist, but Sun chases her politely, even after she is back to her native city. Love between the two blossoms. It is a pure, passionate and secret love. No one should know, still less her mother. Suddenly, Sun disappears. When he returns, Jing realizes that something has changed. She should review her ideas about love, honor and loyalty, before deciding in what to believe really. Their lives never will again be the same. —Bob Buckingham
Zhang Yimou returns to a more basic form of film-making in this touching story of innocent love from China's Cutural Revolution era. Very strong performances add substance to an otherwise simple story of young lovers burdened by societal difficulties in their efforts to be together. Ms. Zhou is very good in her role as a young, innocent woman who meets a special boy, Shawn Dou, amid the turbulence of China's revolutionary years. Both girl and boy are sent to the country-side to labor under Mao's crazed design for social re-ordering. The film does not focus so much on the madness of the times as on the fear of being labeled politically incorrect which, coupled with the socially conservative norms of traditional China, serve to encumber the innocent desire to be together. A slow but nicely filmed story of heartache and heartbreak.
- Sep 28, 2010
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