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Home » Film Festival » Film Review - To Live

Please use this forum to discuss Asia-focused feature and documentary films. Create a new topic for each newly introduced film (put the title in the subject line). If someone has already started a discussion about a film, please add your comments to that discussion rather than starting a new topic.
1/22/2017 10:59:08 AM

rcharles
rcharles
Posts: 35
Subject: Film Review - To Live
Students will research and develop an understanding of the human experience in a culture that is in some ways the mirror opposite of their own. In a time in which capitalism in China bodes the same reaction socialists did in America, students will investigate the role of the government and how much control it should have on the lives of its citizens. Exploring a culture through the arts makes accessible qualities that cannot be quantified in the black and white texts of historical fact telling. The Film To Live was window into a world that is the mirror opposite of Western Culture at the time. It helps to not just understand the what but the why, the subjective and the visceral. This film is a great way for students to travel through the milestones that we will discuss in class such as The Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution or even to look at ways being labeled a “capitalist” impacted citizens much in the same way being labeled a “communist” destroyed lives here in the U.S. The film really makes the hardships of The Cultural Revolution accessible to students who would otherwise not have a point of reference. Students will compare and contrast Zhang Yimou’s work in To Live to that in House of the Flying Daggers. These films are so visually different I think that its not only a testament to how he’s evolving as a filmmaker, but also how he is being shaped as a storyteller evolving as an artist within the confines of Chinese Censorship. We will also discuss media representations with discussion about the lead character Fugui (Ge You) who is not featured on the movie poster, but is replaced by his wife Jiazhen (Gong Li) who was also banned from making films as a result of her role in this film.
edited by rcharles on 1/22/2017
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4/22/2017 1:22:05 PM

jshen
jshen
Posts: 14
Subject: Film Review-To Live
As a Mandarin Teacher, I had watched this movie several times with my students, and in every post movie discussion, besides the different culture background, almost all the students could resonate the main theme of the movie and agreed that this is a very touching movie.
" To Live" is a simple title, but it conceals a universe. In Chinese, "活着“means more close to " To be living". The impression part of this movie is unlike other historical documentary movies, it reveals the historical events in China since 1940s by the end of the last dynasty-Qing, to the 8 years of China-Japan war, then the 10 years of Chinese Civil War, followed later on the 10 years of the Cultural Revolution. The movie shows how these big events affected a regular family, their fierce struggles with fate. their hope is basically summed up by the wife who loses wealth and position and children and who says," all I ask is a quiet life together."
Most of my students resonate that life is hard, yet it has to be going on, we are still struggling " To Live".
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