Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. He finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer recognizes him.
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Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming) and Feng Wanyu (Gong Li) are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner, just as his wife is injured in an accident. Released during the last days of the Cultural Revolution, he finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife has amnesia and remembers little of her past. Unable to recognize Lu, she patiently waits for her husband's return. A stranger alone in the heart of his broken family, Lu Yanshi determines to resurrect their past together and reawaken his wife's memory.Written by
Slow-moving (in the best possible way) romantic drama from China
"Coming Home" (2014 release from China; 110 min.) brings the story of Lu, a "rightist bastard" during the Cultural Revolution. As the movie opens, we see a woman (Feng) and her daughter (Dandan) being called into the Propaganda Office of the girl's school, where they learn that Lu (the husband and father, respectively) has escaped from labor camp, and that they are not to see him. Feng and Lu nevertheless decide to meet up at the train station, where Lu gets captured again. We are then told "Three years later, the Cultural Revolution ends", and Lu arrives back home. Much to his shock, Feng does not recognize him. What caused Feng's amnesia? Will she ultimately recognize him? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from director Zhang Yimou (best known here for "House of the Flying Daggers"), Here he tackles a potentially sensitive topic in China, namely the horrible Cultural Revolution. But don't think that this is a political movie. Instead, it is a love story that happens to be set during and after the Cultural Revolution. Feng is played by the leading Chinese actress Gong Li (think of her as the Meryl Streep of China), and plays the role with restraint and visible hurt. Special mention also for the beautiful Zhang Huiwen in the role of Dandan (check out the ballet performances!). Last but not least, I couldn't help but notice that the piano you hear in the orchestral score is played by none other than Lang Lang. Bottom line: "Coming Home" is a slow-moving (in the best possible way) movie that examines the long shadows of the Cultural Revolution through the eyes of one particular couple.
This movie is now a year and a half, yet it recently showed up out of the blue at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. Better late than never I suppose. The weekday evening screening where I saw this at was attended poorly. A shame. If you are in the mood for a top-notch quality foreign movie that is light years away from your standard Hollywood fare, you may want to give this a try. "Coming Home" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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