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Wo De Fu Qin Mu Qin

The Road Home

China 1999
produced by
Zhao Yu, Zhang Weiping (executive) for Guangxi Film Studio, Beijing New Picture Film/Columbia
directed by Zhang Yimou
starring Zhang Ziyi, Sun Honglei, Zheng Hao, Zhao Yulian, Li Bin, Chang Guifa, Sung Wengcheng, Liu Qi, Ji Bo, Zhang Zhongxi
screenplay by Bao Shi, based on his novel Remembrance, music by San Bao

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Yusheng's (Sun Honglei) father has just died, which prompts him to return to his hometown - a small and poor rural village in the middle of nowhere China - to look after his mother (Zhao Yulian). His mother has meanwhile urged the village's mayor to have her husband, who had been the village teacher for more than 40 years, carried home just like a forgotten tradition demands, but the mayor has to decline simply due to the lack of manpower or village funds to finance manpower.

Yusheng now tries to dissuade his mother from her demands, but instead she tells him the story about how she - a girl not yet 20 (and played by Zhang Ziyi) - met her father (Zheng Hao), who came to the village as a new teacher, and immediately fell in love with him ... but it took her forever to get to know him and to show him her affection - and when she finally succeeds and realizes he likes her back, he has to go back to the city, allegedly because he was mixed up in something. Mum got gravely ill and did not get better until one day (and without explanation) dad came back, and she never again left his side.

Yusheng is to touched by his mother's story that he agrees to finance the funeral procession out of his own pocket - but when it's time to pay, he realizes that those who provided the manpower at the procession were all his dad's students who came back to the village to pay their respect to their teacher and thus don't want any sort of payment.

Touched, Yusheng donates the money to a fund proposed to finance a new school and (even if only for one day) takes over teaching of the village youth himself ...

 


A quiet and sentimental film that often only just stays clear of being cheesy on one hand and that eventually becomes a bit boring on the other hand. On the plus side, Zhang Yimou still is a capable enough director to save this film from being totally pointless - even if the fim is far fom his best -, and Zhang Ziyi in an early role (this was not her first film as many sources claim but the first that introduced her to an international [arthouse-]audience) already proves great talent

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD