To Live (MGM World Films) (1994)
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The movie presents the audience a vivid picture of a former gambling addict, who lost every penny his family ever owned and, to his abyss, his family. One would not expect this mishap could save his life several decades later, when those financially privileged were executed as the people's enemies by the new government under the leadership of Chairman Mao.
He fought for the Nationalist government, became POW shortly after. He then served in the communist PLA, entertaining the staff as a master of shadow play.
The civil war ended, the country was split, while his wife and two children came back to him.
He thought it was time for peace, after so many years of warfare ranging from the revolution against the emperor to the Sino-Japanese War to the civil war. Like most Chinese, he felt that he could finally stand up.
To his disappointment, since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, he witnessed the Great Leap Forward, the class struggle, the Culture Revolution. Years of turmoil chattered all his dreams. His only goal became downgraded to living a simple life. He spared no effort to protect his family, but still lost his only son.
It took a quarter century after the civil war before he saw the long overdue peace. When the notorious Culture Revolution was over, there also disappeared the people's euphoria about the communism, as symbolized by the striking contrast in the different answers to the same question about the future of their family.Read more ›
The main story line is how am ordinary family of Fu Gui (Ge You) and Jia Zhen (Gong Li) went through their lives in various movements, wars and revolutions in China. A careless gambler, Fu Gui, lost everything he had - money, property and family - only left with a set of puppets. It's the same set of puppets that went through all the ups and downs with Fu Gui, his family and friends. Through all the tragic and comic moments and events, through all the bitter-sweetness and irony, the characters were in such a positive spirit that they could make jokes of anything in life, but only through the body languages and their eyes, you could see the heartache.
There is an old Chinese proverb that states, "the old man lost his horse, but it turned out to be his good luck". The entire movie is based on this theory: whether you gain or lose, promote or demote, you would never know if it were good for you at the end. Life is a series of comedic dramas; if you don't face it with a positive attitude and joke back, even during the hardest struggle, you would not be able to survive.
This movie is a masterpiece if you want to find out the meaning of Life, and how meaningful it is "to live"!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie in incredible. I made my older brother and parents watch it and they were all riveted. A beautiful plot line interwoven in some of the complex history of modern China. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tamine
I actually saw this movie during an AP History class.
Regardless, To Live manages to reach even today's youth in amazing ways by showcasing the incredible hardships... Read more
I just saw this movie on YouTube and thought it was just wonderful. Won't be adding it to my DVD/Blu-Ray collection, though, because of its high price. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Movie Nut
The 1994 Zhang Yimou film “To Live” is a heartbreaking and beautiful story which follows a small family over about thirty years during the Communist Revolution in China. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Katherine Edmonds
To Live was well worth Zhang and Li’s two-year ban on future collaborations due to its simple story line that both captures and encompasses the most profound realities of life... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
A beautiful survey of the human costs of China's tumultuous 20th century that is accessible to those who have very little historical background on the events. Read morePublished 14 months ago by JTC