Oh what a wonderful love story! The story begins with a son going home to bury his father. You meet his aged mother working on a loom to make a traditional red cover for the casket. The story then begins the flashback as to when and how his parents met. A wonderfully written, directed, acted moving film. We all want to be loved this way. You should not miss this one.
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A simple, yet wholly moving and beautiful film.
Mark Walters | Barberoy | 09/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eclipsing any romantic comedy or drama from Hollywood in the last 30 years, The Road Home achieves so much by doing very little. Master filmmaker Zhang Yimou successfully captures what it's really like to fall in love for the first time through his use of cinematography (sumptuous as always), unparalleled attention to detail, and, as always, a super strong cast (spearheaded by relative newcomer, the beautiful Zhang Ziyi). Unlike most romance movies, there is no love-making in this film. There is no kissing. The characters show their love through little things that we often take for granted: preparing food, giving small yet meaningful gifts, and other gestures. Like most of Zhang Yimou's films, there is relatively little music, however, the music that is there is perfect. It rises to the occasion when needed and dies down when not.
All of the elements of this film work together like clockwork...better than clockwork. It manages to get its message across more than western romances through uncomparable use of setting and shot framing, costume and make-up, lighting (with some brilliantly-back lit shots of the actors), and figure behavior.
Now about the DVD. This is a film whose setting was meant to be seen only in widescreen. The picture holds up well both in sun-lit outdoor conditions and slightly darker indoor scenes. The voices are set at a nice level and when the score hits its high note, the sound is heavenly...even through a plain Dolby Surround system.
Plain and simple, this is a film which should not be passed up."
I Will Wait For You
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 11/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Clean is the autumn wind, Splendid is the autumn moon, The blown leaves are heaped and scattered, The ice-cold raven starts from its roost Dreaming of you-when shall I see you again? On this night sorrow fills my heart.
-Li Po (701-762) Chinese Poet, "Verses"
In a mesmerizing story of love and loss based on Bao Shi's novel: "Rememberance," you will find two hearts. A teacher wanting to give his knowledge to the next generation and a farm girl wanting to share her very soul with the man she loves. This is about how in the winter of a life, the summer is remembered and celebrated.
From the very start of this movie, it will draw you into the intimacy of the most private thoughts of the characters. There are thoughts about life, death, love, loss and loneliness. The contrast of the black-and-white present with the ecstatic color flashback scenes of the past are so sharp, it is almost emotionally overwhelming. Snow drifts across the frozen earth and there are scenes of the bitter cold.
The story is set around the life of a schoolhouse built when two people fall in love. As they age, the schoolhouse also ages and when businessman Luo Yusheng's (Sun Honglei) father dies, the schoolhouse is ready to be rebuilt. He leaves the city and returns to the snowy path leading to the mountain village of Sanhetun in Northern China.
Luo Changyu (Zheng Hao) helped to build the schoolhouse and taught there for almost his entire life. After getting caught in a snow storm, his heart condition is revealed and he is unable to continue raising money for this project. He dies never seeing his dream of the new schoolhouse come true.
Luo Yusheng finds his mother Zhao Di (Zhao Yuelin plays the older Di) weeping at the school. She finally tells her son of her plans to carry her husband back in a coffin on foot. She doesn't want to use a car and so he must employ people from the surrounding villages. As her son takes care of the details, she weaves a funeral cloth for the casket. We are reminded later of why this means so much to her as we think of her innocent face peering through the red threads used to create the cloth hung in the schoolhouse.
The story of the romance between 18-year-old Zhao Di (Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon plays the young Di) and Luo Changyu is the focus of the movie. They are perhaps in love from the moment their eyes meet. In a world of arranged marriages, this freedom to love is unique. Di has her heart set on Luo from the minute she sees him. She pursues him like an shy animal hunting in the forest. She views him from afar and slowly works her way into his heart. Her pink coat floating between golden leaves as she runs, her anxious heart captured by her gaze.
Each day as the school is built, she brings a dish for him and hopes that he will taste something she has cooked for him. Then as he teaches, she can't resist the sound of his voice. She has to be near him.
When he has to leave to be questioned for political reasons, she has just made mushroom dumplings and so wants him to taste them. While the story is simple, the emotions are complex. You know what the characters are thinking even before they have spoken. You feel their hearts, imagine it is your breath seeping into the cold air like steam or your hands making the mushroom dumplings.
Your heart runs with her to find Luo. And then you cry when the bowl breaks because you feel the intense longing Di feels. You live this story with her, you see love through her eyes, you know she would walk barefoot in the snow if she could just find Luo.
As she waits for Luo to return, we know she is completely in love. She tells him she will wait for him and he promises to return on the 27th. When he fails to return, Di feels she has lost everything unless she goes to find the man she loves.
You will want to cry because this movie is so incredibly beautiful. It is beautiful in its simplicity. Director Zhang Yimou has made one of the most beautiful movies you will ever see. The music by Bao San fills any space you would possible have to draw a breath and escape from being absolutely captured by every scene.
I will gladly read subtitles for a movie this exquisite. This is perhaps the only perfect movie ever made. If you only saw one movie in your life, this should be it. I feel I can hardly describe this movie to you. There are hardly words to tell you how this movie absolutely enchanted me. 100 stars would not be enough.
Like fresh water drawn from the depths of a well, this movie is all consuming in how it refreshes your spirit. It is a drink from the clearest mountain stream. It is pure in its deepest emotions of hope and longing and rich beyond material possessions in the beauty of love.
This movie sets your senses on fire. You hear the crispest of sounds, the "splosh" of water as it is poured back into the well, fresh snow crunching underfoot and the sizzle of food in a wok set over a fire. Your vision is in complete bliss as an aesthetic awareness of nature swirls around you in pictures and sounds in a rural Chinese setting.
Completely Charming in every way.
~The Rebecca Review "
True love knows no boundaries.
D. Sterling | Seattle, WA United States | 06/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Last night I was given the opportunity of a private screening of this film. I am not a major movie fanatic, and am jaded by lackluster supposed Hollywood "blockbusters". I also usually shy away from foriegn films with subtitles, rarely giving them a chance - therefore I came into this screening a skeptic. Let me tell you I was more than pleasantly surprised - I was captivated and moved. I was touched by the simplicity and innocent beauty of the story - and mesmerized by the goregous cinematography that did not rely on in-your-face effects but on tried and true, carefully planned blocking/framing that is as subtle as it is powerful.This simple love story cut straight to the quick of what true love is really about and caused me to look at my own relationships, appreciating them more, realizing what things in life are truly important, and how today's trivial "problems" are not usually meaningful when it comes to the big picture.I encourage you to see this film if given the opportunity. Don't be fooled by it's seemingly simple message - I believe you too will feel it's depth and appreciate it's beauty."
As Of Now, The Best Film Of 2001!
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 12/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Road Home" is made by my favorite foreign director around today! I don't count Bergman because he just writes now. But Zhang Yimou, the director of this film, always manages to put such beauty into his films. Probably best known for films like "Not One Less", "Shanghai Traid", "Raise the Red Lantern", & "To Live". "The Road Home" follows in his tradition of making powerful, beautiful films.
I've seen about 60 films this year, and I know that's not a lot when compared to how many critics see. But, I think it's a pretty large amount when compared to the amount that the average movie fan goes to see. From everything I've seen this year, nothing has been able to express the passion of this film! No film has been as tender, poignant, & embarcive as this. I hate to admit this, for it's not really manly, but, I was misty by the end of the film. I've not seen a film that could do that to me in a long time.
Many bash this film saying, there's no story. It doesn't move. There's no point to it. How wrong they are. Of course there's a story to the film. I was watching something all that time lol. It's a very innocent, simple story that captivates it's audience. A young man, Yusheng (Honglei Sun) goes back home after hearing about the death of his father. A local school teacher, who helped build the very same school where he worked. His mother is grief-stricken, understandablely. There's an old tradition that after one dies, one must be brought back to where they lived. Only they must be brought back by foot! Other's must carry the coffin so the person's soul will remember how to get back home. Yusheng mother, will not give in. She demands that the townspeople follow the old tradition. Afterwards, Yunsheng starts thinking about his mother and father, he sees a picture of them taken the day of their marriage. It makes him think about the story of how they met. And, this is where the film starts to take off. Granted, it sounds simple, but, please don't dismiss it. Just think of "The Bicycle Thief". It takes a simple story, and does something with it, many films, no matter how complex their story-line may be can do. "The Road Home" is the same way. It may sound simple, but, give it a chance, trust me, you'll be impressed.
I really, really love this movie. Everything about it seems to fall together in perfect pieces. The music by Bao San is charming. It hits all the romantic and dramatic spots it needed to. The script based on the book "Remembrance" written by Shi Bao, as is the script, is truly wonderful. It carries such heart with it. It makes us care about the characters so much. We can't help but get drawn into their lives. The film did more in 89 minutes then any Hollywood film I saw this year! I know, many people dislike having to read the sub-titles on these type of films, but, please, make an effort to see this one. I think this film will stay with me for a long,long time.p.s.- This film has already won and been nominated for many awards including; a Sundance Film Festival Award, a Bodil Awards, and a Berlin International Film Festival Award."
An absolutely masterful love story
Gerrit Ruitinga | Antwerp | 06/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A man comes home after his father died. His mother refuses to give up the old custom of burial and he has to convince the people in the village to do it. He does it because he realizes his parent's was the perfect love and it is this love story that is told in this stunning movie.When a new teacher arrives in the traditional village the prettiest girl falls in love and she tries to atract the teacher to her within the boundaries of the Chinese traditions. She always goes to the road to see him come back with his pupils and tries to have a conversation. When the new school is built she hopes he will select the disches she had prepared for the communal feast.When he is away in town, for a long time, hinting at some political difficulties, she goes to the road every day, rain or shine, until finally he comes back.And then she accepts him, without asking what he has done, but simply content with him being there again, in her home.What makes this simple tale so outstanding is the way the stunningly beautiful actress Ziyi Zang and the camera/director act like one body. It is so natural, so beautiful, particularly in the setting of the landscapes of rural China that words fail to describe it to the full extent.One is so captured that the loss of language for those like me who do not understand Chinese having to rely on the subtitles is not a problem at all. The subtle acting and the fine body language underscores every pointy being made.There is only one thing to do; go out and see it ( probably many times)."