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Monday, August 15, 2011

Under the hawthorn tree (2010)


Country: China
Genre: romance, history, life
Format: movie
Cast: Dongyu Zhou, Shawn Do, Meijuan Xi, Xuejian Li, Taisheng Chen, Rina Sa
Synopsis: During the China's Cultural Revolution in a small Chinese city there is a high school student Jing who is aiming to become a teacher. Her family is really poor and father is a politic-prisoner, so she must watch her every step. She is send to a countryside with her school and they are shown a hawthorn tree, which is called The Tree of Heroes. Jing meets there a young geology student Sun, who was from a rich family as his father held a high position in the military, but his mother had made a suicide after she had been branded as "rigthist". Jing and Sun are not allowed to be together as long as Jing has probation.
Rating: 4/5
I saw the movie at film festival (That's the reason why I was gone for some while. It was outdoor festival, so the screen was put up in the center of the city and there where thousands of seats under the starry sky). Even though it had rained all day long and it was pretty cold outside, I felt warm while watching it. Really heartwarming movie.  It is actually based on true life.
This is the latest work of Zhang Yimou - he is like the most known director from China. I have seen the "House of flying daggers" too, but I think I should do a rewatch to review it.
I like that the movie shows different sides of love, but the main characters share a pure love. There are no unduly emotions. You might think that they have a big age difference as Dongyu Zhou looks really young, but actually Jing is in a final years of high school during the start of the movie and Sun is actually a university student (or something like that), so the most they might have about 3-6 year difference, I think. I liked Sun character, he was so caring and understanding and really loved her. You cannot find a man like him so easily. He helped so much Jing and also let her to feel a little bit more relaxed, because she was under a biiig pressure most of the time. You might think that Jing is naive and childish at some points, especially in the relationship, but you must remember, that at that time no-one really talked about sex loudly, so it is understandable that she did not knew anything, but I think that it made the movie even cuter.  Furthermore, I think I should mention that it was THE FIRST movie for both of the actors, Dongyu Zhou and Shawn Do.
In addition, you can learn some things about China's Cultural Revolution. I have never understood it before why communism and Nazism made just a big impact on those people, that made them really believe in it. But you can really see it, that actually even if you did not believed in it, it was best to look like you believe in it. It was the same with Lenin, who was shown as a children best friend in school books in my country at that time, and it is like that in the movie with Mao. I actually do not want to talk about politics and specially about communism as my country suffered under it for a long time. But I think that the movie shows actually both sides of the communism.
At first it might be weird to see the explanation lines between the scenes, but these make the movie more one of a kind than weird.

SPOILER: I cried like a baby in the end. It was so sad. Especially when Jing called "I am Jing! I am Jing! You told me that if you will hear my name, you will come back to me! I am Jing!" and the Sun lines  "I was not able to wait until your probation ends; I was not able to wait until you will get 25; but I waited for you for my life time." I also asked my mother if a person who suffers from leukemia goes all blue like in the movie and it is actually true. and If you want to know why Sun was not treated, then at that time they were not able to treat leukemia in China province hospital. So in the end all story is really true based and believable. 
In addition, it was even more sadder that the village was left under the Three Gorges dam,  but it is true that there were so many villages and magical scenery.
 

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