Thursday, August 4, 2016

2014 Zhang Yimou film Coming Home (归来) at Northland Public Library, August 10.

Northland Public Library will show the 2014 Chinese film Coming Home (归来), directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li, on August 10 in this month's installment of the Foreign Film Series. A New York Times review from 2015 summarizes a bit:
“Coming Home,” only [Zhang and Li's] second collaboration in the past 20 years, reunites them in an intimate, politically resonant story set in the final years and the immediate aftermath of the Cultural Revolution. Ms. Gong plays Feng Wanyu, a teacher in a provincial city whose husband, Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming), a professor, has been sent to a labor camp in a purge of “rightists.” Feng Wanyu lives with their teenage daughter, Dan Dan (Zhang Huiwen), a dancer who dreams of playing the lead in the ballet “The Red Detachment of Women.” Her father’s pariah status threatens her ambition, and she is eager to denounce him when local officials demand it.

Early in the film, Lu Yanshi has escaped and made his way home in a doomed and desperate effort to see his family again. He receives a mixed welcome. Feng Wanyu is both terrified and eager to be with him, while Dan Dan, who barely remembers her father, is worried about the disruptive effect his presence will have on her life. Her selfishness and shortsightedness, and her inability to sympathize with her parents or put aside her own needs are all perfectly normal. She’s an adolescent, after all. But in a time of political extremity, ordinary feelings and actions can have terrible consequences. Innocent people do not only suffer under a ruthless system; they become agents of its cruelty.
Zhang and Li partnered on several of the most acclaimed Chinese movies of the 1990s, including Ju Dou (菊豆), Raise the Red Lantern (大红灯笼高高挂), The Story of Qiu Ju (秋菊打官司), and To Live (活著). The movie played in Pittsburgh last October.

The movie will play at Northland from 1:30 pm, and the library is located off of McKnight Road and Rt. 19 in McCandless Township (map). It is free and open to the public.