红高粱 | Red Sorghum

Red Sorghum

Won Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. A stunning visual achievement, this new wave Chinese film succeeds on many levels–as an ode to the color red, as dark comedy, and as a sweeping epic with fairy tale overtones. Set in rural China in the 1920s, during the period of the Japanese invasion. The sorghum plot nearby is a symbolic playing field in the movie’s most stunning scenes. Here, people make love, murder, betray, and commit acts of bravery, all under the watchful eye of nature. Based on a novel by Mo Yan 莫言, Red Sorghum is Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut. An anonymous narrator tells the story of his grandmother, a bride-to-be in an arranged wedding with an aging leprous winemaker, and his grandfather, who was one of the sedan-chair bearers escorting her to her wedding. Along the way, a bandit forces her out of the sedan chair, and the two exchange looks after he saves her. The pair is re-united following the winemaker’s untimely death, whereupon they assemble the old winemaking crew. They endure travails with banditry, pestilence, war with the Japanese and the ongoing process of making good sorghum wine.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Li Gong, Wen Jiang, Rujun Ten, Chun Hua Ji, Jia Zhaoji | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival

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孩子王 | King of the Children

King of the Children

This film is adapted from the novel of Ah Cheng. During the Cultural Revolution, there is a shabby school in a remote mountain area short of teachers. An educated youth, “Old Cha”, though young but has been living and working here for seven years, is chosen to be the “King of the Children”, that is a teacher. With no books, he will copy the books; without textbook, his dictionary is the holy Bible. The children are prone to read critical articles, but they are not literate. Then the king of the children teaches them how to spell the words and write a composition. Finally, the king of the children violates the educational contents and is dismissed, ending up again as the Old Cha.

Directed by Kaige Chen | Starring : Yuan Xie, Cheung Choi-Mei, Guoqing Xu, Jianjun He, Ming-hua Chen | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival