2006, Sat, Apr 29

To Live!

D: Zhang Yimou

Zhang Yimou | To Live! | Copyright: Promo

Zhang Yimou | To Live! | Copyright: Promo

China 1994, 132 min., German subtitles

To Live - a simple title that contains the entire universe. This film traces the fate of a Chinese family from the 1940s to the Cultural Revolution. Fugui, a gambler, doesn’t want to lose face. When his wife tries to drag him away from the games table he is more determine than ever to bet, and ends up losing all that he possesses. But he wins his life.For only a short while later, when the Communists seize power in 1949, the man – a landowner – who won Fugui’s land is shot dead. Together with his wife, Fugui survives the Great Leap Forward, the upheavals of the Cultural Revolution and the terror of the Red Guards. His wife sums up their fate – having survived political upheavals, setbacks, the loss of their money, position and children – in one simple sentence: ‘All I want is a peaceful life with my husband.’ For their honesty, both the director and the leading actress were banned from ever speaking about their film in public.

Yu Hua, the author of the novel, will be reading from his book at 7 p.m. on 25 April. After the film, he will be available for a discussion with the audience. programme information >>>

The Cultural Revolution Night

The traumatic decade of the Cultural Revolution is unparalleled in Chinese history. Two films take a look at this era: one from the perspective of adults, and the other from that of youths. They convey the almost total disorientation so prevalent at the time, which left people with little but their bare lives.