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The story of Fugui and Jiazhen, and their family's struggle for survival from the 1940's through the 1980's.
Genre: Foreign Film - Chinese
Release Date: 24-JUL-2007
Media Type: DVD
One of the best films of 1994, To Live is a bold, energetic masterpiece from Zhang Yimou, the foremost director from China's influential "fifth generation" of filmmakers. Continuing his brilliant collaboration with China's best-known actress Gong Li (their previous films include Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern), Zhang weaves an ambitious tapestry of personal and political events, following the struggles of an impoverished husband and wife (Ge You, Gong Li) from their heyday in the 1940s to the hardships that accompanied the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. They raise two children amidst a Communist regime, surviving numerous setbacks and yet managing, somehow, to live. Both intimate and epic, Zhang's film encompasses the simplest and most profound realities of Chinese life during this controversial period, and for their honesty, Zhang and Gong Li faced a two-year ban on future collaborations. To Live is a testament to their art, transcending politics to celebrate the tenacity of ordinary people in the wake of turbulent history. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
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. "Chicken, goose, goat, cow and the communism" was replaced by just "chicken, goose, goat and cow". For countless Chinese, their bitterly learned lessons gradually alienated them from their government that they used to love and trust.
To Live is an excellent movie! It takes courage to show people the real picture of the past. For China, To Live could be a vaccine against more merciless class struggle and blind loyalty towards a self-claimed savor.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Regardless, To Live manages to reach even today's youth in amazing ways by showcasing the incredible hardships...Read more
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