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 Dragon. The 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.