The Road Home
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

Things have been a little slow this summer as far as Hollywood movies go.  So while I wait for Jurassic Park III and Planet of the Apes, I've been sampling a few nice little films with subtitles.  This week's movie is The Road Home a.k.a. Wo de fu qin mu qin.  This the latest movie by one of the best known Chinese directors, Yimou Zhang who also directed Raise the Red Lantern.  His films are extremely beautiful.  Each scene looks like a painting.  The Road Home does not disappoint.  The film begins with a man finding out that his father has died. The story then flashes back to when his father met his mother and the main part of this film is their story.  The mother as a young woman is played by Ziyi Zhang who burst onto the scene as the young warrior in Crouching Tiger, Hidden DragonThe Road Home is actually her screen debut as it was filmed before Crouching Tiger.  Zhang definitely has "it" and shows it once again in this film.  This time, her role is a much simpler one in a much simpler film.  We follow her life as she meets her future husband when he arrives in her small town to become the school teacher.  It is love at first sight and soon they contrive to meet each other. But all too soon, he is gone back to the big city to answer some charges that he hasn't been politically correct which had a very different meaning in China in 1958.  Meanwhile, Zhang waits and waits while slowly pining away as, beautifully painted on the screen, fall turns into winter.  Zhang is very good in this very different role.  She produces quite a different character even down to her body language.  One of the best scenes in the movie is her running down the road into the distance. The other cast members who make up the townspeople are also good and this is a cute little film.  Nothing much happens in this little town and it would have been a bit more interesting as a film if a little more had been going on.  In particular, we don't see enough of Zhang and her beau getting to know each other before he disappears. There are a lot of scenes of her yearning with beautiful backdrops. But it works pretty well and it's worth seeing The Road Home just for the cinematography.