Foreign film series continues with The Road Home

A young Chinese girl, Di, paces around the school’s fence while snow falls about her. She is drawn by the melodic voice and repetitive lessons of the instructor. Though illiterate and uneducated, Di falls in love with the young schoolteacher and his school.

Yimou Zhang, famous for his fantastical action movies like House of Flying Daggers and Jet Li’s Hero, directed The Road Home (1999). Last Tuesday’s movie, a love story, is quite a departure from the high-flying wuxia films. Zhang is also famous for directing the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Olymics.

The Road Home is set in the late 1960s during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Communist China’s attempt to expunge “Western ways” included eliminating intellectuals, religious leaders, and dissidents. The rural town, where the plot takes place, is mostly unaffected by the intellectual extermination, except for schoolteacher who is called back to the city.

The story is framed around the death of Changyu, the teacher. It opens with his son returning home for his burial ceremonies and closes with them being performed. The opening and closing are filmed in black and white, whereas the love story of Di and Changyu is in color.

Luo Yusheng, the son of Di and Changyu, recalls the renowned story of his parents’ courting. Di attempts to win her future husband’s heart through cooking and eventually resorts to following him wherever he goes. Despite her similarities to the narrator of Police’s “Every Move You Make,” Di eventually wins the affection and love of Changyu . . . just in time for him to be shipped off to the city.

Yimou creates a visually stunning film with the use of repetition, blending of scenes and numerous other cinematic techniques. Some of the most memorable sequences in The Road Home are Di’s awkward attempts at flirting and her constant gazing down the road out of town. Indeed, the winding road to the city becomes a symbol for the two main characters’ fidelity.

Ziyi Zhang started her career in this movie, and later became one of the most recognizable Chinese actresses. Since 1999, she starred in Rush Hour 2 and Memoirs of a Geisha, among many others.

Tonight at 3:30 and 7 p.m., Dr. Pease will be showing the British film, Kind Hearts and Cornets. Alec Guinness (Star Wars Episodes IV, V and VI) plays a man trying to inherit his family’s dowry by killing off eight other relatives. Guinness also plays the soon-to-be victims. A Luis Bunuel short, Un Chien Andalou, which isn’t for the faint of heart, follows the British comedy.

The film series is continuing every Tuesday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. in the Evans Complex room 105. All students and faculty are invited to attend. This weekly event a vital part of our university and those who attend are better educated when they leave.

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