To Live — Huózhe ~ Chinese Movies&TV

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To Live — Huózhe

To Live (Chinese: 活着; pinyin: Huózhe, Lifetimes in some English versions) is a Chinese epic film directed by Zhang Yimou in 1994, starring Ge YouGong Li. It is based on the novel of the same name by Yu Hua. Having achieved international success with his previous films (Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern), director Zhang Yimou’s To Live came with high expectations. It is the first Chinese film that had its foreign distribution rights pre-sold.

 

Director: Zhang Yimou

The story describes the struggles endured by the son of a wealthy land-owner  (starred Ge You) after the Revolution fundamentally alters the nature of Chinese society. The contrast between his pre-revolutionary status as a selfish fool who (literally) travels on the shoulders of the downtrodden and his post-revolutionary status as a persecuted peasant are stark.

 

Ge You

The film was banned in mainland China by the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television due to its critical portrayal of various policies and campaigns of the Communist government. Zhang Yimou was also banned from filmmaking for two years.

To Live was screened at the 1994 New York Film Festival before eventually receiving a limited release in the United States on November 18, 1994.

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