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The road home (Wo de fu qin mu qin)

Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

City businessman Luo Yusheng (Honglei Sun) returns to his home village in North China for the funeral of his father, the village teacher. He finds his elderly mother (Yuelin Zhao) insisting that all traditional curial customs be observed, despite the fact that times have changed so much.

Observing his mother's intransigence, ysheng thinks back over the stories he heard as a boy about his parent's courtship. His father, Luo Changyu (Hao Zheng), came to the village as the new teacher and soon fell in love with Zhao Di (Ziyi Zhang), considered the prettiest of local girls. But their developing romance was curtailed when Changyu was ordered back to the city for obscure political mistakes, and the would-be lovers were kept apart for more than two years.

When finally reunited, they married and never separated again.

Persons of interest

  • Honglei Sun .... Luo Yusheng
  • Hao Zheng .... Luo Changyu
  • Ziyi Zhang .... Zhao Di
  • Yuelin Zhao
  • Bin Li .... Grandmother
  • Wencheng Sung .... The Mayor
  • Guifa Chang .... The Old Mayor
  • Bo Ji .... Carpenter Xia
  • Qi Liu .... Old Carpenter Xia
  • Zhongxi Zhang .... The Crockery Repairman
  • Shi Bao .... Screenwriter
  • Yimou Zhang .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The best romance ever.

The road home is presented as a series of memories and recollections, and despite the fact that you know the outcome you still worry for the two young people. Their story is simple: love at first sight, being overwhelmed by that love, being taken away from that love. This is the essence of any love story, be it Romeo and Juliet, or Titanic. The difference with this film is that the end is not only blissful (they get together) but intrinsically human... happily-ever-after bows before the rules of life with one partner dying many years after their meeting. That path is often ignored by filmmakers because it doesn't seen to be as dramatic as having the hero suicide at an altar or drown in the North Atlantic, but it is in fact far more subtle and far more touching.

To keep the record straight, I balled my eyes out over The road home. That's a rare occurrence.

Tn terms of the technical aspects, this film does what every film should do: it tells the story in pictures then adds a few pieces of dialogue to please the ear. Despite being in Mandarin you don't need to read the subtitles to understand what's happening; the direction and performances are so clear that words become superfluous. The imagery alone tells a story so poignant that you, too, will be moved to tears. Hao Zheng and Ziyi Zhang are terrific: the openness of their performances makes Leo and Clare or Leo and Kate seem almost bland. The depth of all the characters (played mostly by first-time performers) is powerful, rich and rewarding.

I have no hesitation in ordering you to see The road home: the film and you deserve it.

Security censorship classification

PG (Adult themes)

Surveillance time

89 minutes (1:29 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

10 January 2001

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