TO LIVE: DVD
Set against four decades of Chinese political turmoil, To Live follows the lives of one couple, Fugui and Jiazhen (Ge You and Gong Li) and their children, as they struggle to survive and find their place within the chaos of the Chinese revolution. Through bizarre twists, tragic losses and profound hope, Fugui and his family persevere, searching for a chance to love and a reason to live.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
When a totalitarian state bans a film made by one of its citizens, you can be sure the filmmaker is doing something right. Such is the case of Yimou Zhang and his 1994 drama, To Live, which was screened at Cannes without the permission of the Chinese government. Not only was the film banned in China, but Yimou and its star Gong Li, were forbidden to speak about it for two years.
And we can see why the Chinese communist government is so sensitive; To Live begins in the 40s and follows Jaizhen - superbly played by Li Gong - through the middle decades of 20th century China, as the country transforms itself into a republic. The communist system is portrayed with deadpan sincerity - Yimou Zhang doesn't have to add any editorial colour to show up the system's intractable faults - not to mention the disasters of the Cultural Revolution.
Epic in scope but intimate in its focus, To Live is a social document filled with emotion; the characters draw us into their lives with our cultural differences melted in the humanity of Yimou's filmmaking and the universality of the subject. To Live - what short words for such large a subject.
Published January 24, 2007
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TO LIVE: DVD (PG)
CAST: You Ge, Li Gong , Ben Niu
PRODUCER: Fu-Sheng Chiu, Funhonq Kow, Christoph Tseng
DIRECTOR: Yimou Zhang
SCRIPT: Wei Lu, Hua Yu (from theirnovel)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Yoe Lu
EDITOR: Yuan Du
MUSIC: Jiping Zhao
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Juiping Cap
RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes
PRESENTATION: 1.85:1; DD 2.0
SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: October 20, 2004
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.