To Live

To Live

4.5 4
Director: Zhang Yimou

Cast: Ge You, Gong Li, Niu Ben

     
 

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Zhang Yimou, often regarded as China's leading contemporary filmmaker, directed this drama chronicling the ebb and flow of one family's fortunes, set against the backdrop of China's tumultuous history between the 1940s and the 1970s. Fugui (Ge You) is the father of a once-wealthy family whose addiction to gambling and chronic bad luck causes him to lose his home in a

Overview

Zhang Yimou, often regarded as China's leading contemporary filmmaker, directed this drama chronicling the ebb and flow of one family's fortunes, set against the backdrop of China's tumultuous history between the 1940s and the 1970s. Fugui (Ge You) is the father of a once-wealthy family whose addiction to gambling and chronic bad luck causes him to lose his home in a game of dice with Long'er (Ni Dabong). Fugui's wife Jiazhen (Gong Li) abandons him, and he finds himself working as a peddler, until the man who now owns his home gives him a pair of shadow puppets. Fugui learns the art of puppetry and travels as a performer; while on the road, he is arrested by Nationalist forces, until he is liberated by advancing Red Army factions, and he comes him home to his wife and children as they adapt to the nation's new leadership. While once a lazy spendthrift, Fugui vows to change his ways, and he struggles to become a better worker and citizen. But Fugui and his family soon realize that there is adversity waiting for them around every corner, and the onset of the Cultural Revolution makes it clear that China's new regime can be as corrupt and callous as the old order. While a Grand Prize winner at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and recipient of the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 1995 BAFTA Awards, Huozhe did not fare well in its homeland. Chinese censors objected to the film's commentary about political abuses in China's past, as well as Zhang Yimou's attempts to present the film at several international festivals. As punishment, he was forced to write a formal apology and was not allowed to make another film for two years.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
Chinese auteur Zhang Yimou's 1994 epic tracks a rocky marriage through the equally perilous historical era of China's Communist takeover. In the 1940s, Fugui (Ge You) and his wife, Jiazen (the ravishing Gong Li), quarrel over Fugui's incredible lack of luck; he loses the family fortune in a Mandarin version of craps. After a humiliating time hawking thread on the streets, Fugui learns puppetry only to be arrested by the Nationalist army. The country's political changes then commence as Fugui attempts to change his own ways, despite seemingly unending hardships that continually threaten his family. Stretching all the way into the 1970s, To Live sports an incredible palette of vivid colors and episodes -- of particular note is a breathtaking sequence of the waning Nationalist grunts slogging it through the snow. But Zhang never loses sight of the structure that he sets in motion from the outset: The anatomy of the marriage is as thoroughly plumbed as anything in world cinema this side of Ingmar Bergman. Gong Li is, not surprisingly, working at her most teeth-clenching and soulful best, though it was Ge You who clinched the Best Actor prize at Cannes.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/24/2007
UPC:
0027616085269
Original Release:
1994
Rating:
NR
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:05:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ge You Fugui
Gong Li Jiazhen
Niu Ben Town Chief
Guo Tao Chunsheng
Jiang Wu Erxi
Ni Dabong Long'er
Liu Tianchi Fengxia, as an adult
Deng Fei Youqing

Technical Credits
Zhang Yimou Director
Kow Fu-Hong Executive Producer
Chiu Fu-Sheng Producer
Yu Hua Screenwriter
Dong Huamiao Costumes/Costume Designer
Tao Jing Musical Direction/Supervision,Sound/Sound Designer
Zhao Jiping Score Composer
Cao Jiuping Art Director
Barbara Robinson Associate Producer
Hu Shaofeng Production Manager
Christophe Tseng Executive Producer
Lu Wei Screenwriter
Du Yuan Editor
Lu Yue Cinematographer
Zhang Zhenyan Production Manager

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- To Live
1. Main Title/The Gambler [8:50]
2. Nothing Left to Lose [8:14]
3. Out of House and Home [3:51]
4. New Life in Puppetry [6:29]
5. The Freezing Warriors [5:58]
6. Running to Be a POW [8:21]
7. Silently Carry Water [4:49]
8. Arbitrary Enemies [5:16]
9. 1950's/Iron Contribution [3:01]
10. Youquing Fights Back [4:39]
11. The Joke's on Daddy [7:29]
12. Mustn't Be Backward [5:05]
13. A Little Life Owed [9:44]
14. 1960's/Matchmakers [7:44]
15. A Great Event [9:58]
16. Mother-to-Be [4:08]
17. Chunsheng Pays His Debt [4:18]
18. Birth Without Doctors [7:28]
19. The Curse of Little Bun [8:07]
20. One Photo a Year/Credits [8:46]

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To Live 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great movie...so great, that I wanted to purchase it. Of course, B&N won't sell it to me. They obviously have no inventory, even though they claim that they do. I tried purchasing it twice but each time, after several days, my order is cancelled. They claim that  "despite our efforts, we weren't able to fulfill some or all of the items in your order." What does that mean? It's kind of vague and they won't give me an answer. It has since gone on sale, so I tried to purchase it again with the same result. I wrote to their customer service. They have not responded in several days. What a waste of time. Don't buy from B&N. They won't sell it to you anyway!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great novel to lead into a discussion on China's changing political environment. I show this as a background before teaching ''Forbidden City'' by William Bell. Subtitle make the student have to watch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the cinematography is excellent. i am moved every time i watch this film.