Road Home, The (China; 89min.)

directed by: Zhang Yimou
starring: Zhang Ziyi; Sun Honglei; Zheng Hao; Zhao Yeulin
Wo de fu qin mu qin
Diane says: "I really didn't like this movie. I thought I had a good handle on the Chinese way of seeing things, but I found this meaningless. Maybe what wasn't there was meant to be more meaningful than what was: why the teacher was sent away for two years, why the grown son's life is not fulfilled.... There was no conflict and no character development, just tons of that obstinacy and perseverance that we see in THE STORY OF QIU JU, NOT ONE LESS, and Waiting, the recent novel by Ha Jin. My favorite part was seeing how the travelling repairman fixed the smashed pottery bowl."
Jeffrey says: "I liked the luminous colors in the aspen leaves, the red cloth and Di's pink jacket. I liked Zhang's evocation of the rhythms and traditions of village life. I could almost smell the food and the smoke from the cooking fire. I liked the small moments exquisitely told, like little narrative jewels, as when the suitor presents his sweetheart with a small, but treasured, gift. I liked Di's dazzling smile. "
Laura says: "This moving tale is adapted from his novel Remembrance by Bao San. Very little dialogue is used in the central flashback, where images speak and non-obtrusive narration fills in the story. The themes of everlasting love and home are referred to often in simple, almost offhand ways. Memory keeps love alive with the imagined sound of a loved one's voice." 4 1/2 cats

For Laura's complete review: ""
Michael says: "Zhang Yimou gets down the basics in his latest film, a lovely romantic tale set in a Northern Chinese village about 50 years ago. The narrator is returning to the village he grew up in after his father dies unexpectedly. There he finds his mother bereft with grief and hoping to honor a old Chinese tradition that finds the deceased man borne home on the shoulders of the villagers so he will always know how to return home. The problem is, all of the young, able-bodied men have moved to the city. As the narrator struggles with a solution, his mind wanders back to the tale of his parents meeting and subsequent courtship. This makes the bulk of the film.

Zhang Ziyi (of CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON fame) plays Di, the widow, as an eighteen-year-old. She falls in love with the new, young schoolteacher sent from the city to work in their village. The story of their courtship is told in bold color with panoramic vistas as their backdrop. There is a heightened feeling to this memory-tale, made all the more so with the vivid colors, sweeping landscapes, and fully-realized facial expressions that suggests that, as a memory, the tale has taken almost legendary proportion. Despite this, the tale is deceptively simple. Strangely enough, it bears a slight resemblance to Zhang's last film, NOT ONE LESS, as well as earlier Zhang film because of the heroines stubborn persistence as if by sheer force of will she can make things happen.

I loved this film... and I highly recommend it to all... especially Zhang Yimou fans! Plus, I love any adult film that is rated G! (Witness THE WINSLOW BOY from two years ago.)" 4 1/2 cats
Robin says: "THE ROAD HOME" is a world-class film that shows influences from other countries. The distinctly western-sounding score by Bao San uses soaring violins and a lone flute that sounds much like the music to BRAVEHEART. Cinematography, by Yong Hou, is striking, especially his color work used in the flashbacks. Zhang Yimou has always used colors prominently in his films and Yong Hou utilizes them to stunning affect, especially for the exteriors. Costume design, by Huamiao Tong, is terrific, particularly the attention to Zhang Zi-Yi's outfits of bright pink and vivid red. Art direction, by Juiping Cao, is nicely rendered and spans the decades properly as what was once young is now old." 5 cats

For Robin's complete review: ""