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Sunflower (2005)

Cast: Joan Chen, Joan Chen, Sun Haiyung, more...
Director: Zhang Yang, Zhang Yang
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: New Yorker Video
Genre: Drama, Foreign, China, Dysfunctional Families
Running Time: 129 min.
Languages: Mandarin
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Synopsis
The tumultuous relationship between a father returning home after years in a labor camp and the nine-year-old son who doesn't quite know what to make of this new man in his life lies at the heart of director Zhang Yang's heartfelt drama addressing the nature of change and the importance of family in Chinese culture. Chairman Mao has died and the Gang of Four have fallen, leaving former painter Gengnian (Sun Haiying) to return home to his wife, Xiuqing (Joan Chen), and the pair's nine-year-old son Xiangyang (Zhang Fan). His hands permanently damaged by the ravages of hard labor, Gengnian cannot return to painting, though his young son has shown an abundance of artistic promise. Troubled by the sudden presence of a father he has never known and rebelling against the path laid before him, Xiangyang ignites a firecracker in his hand in hopes that it may derail his artistic career. In the years that follow, Xiangyang's reputation as a talented artist grows while his relationship with his father remains forever troubled. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Beautiful, Moving -- but Not Quite There by talltale July 14, 2008 - 6:37 AM PDT
12345678910
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
SUNFLOWER may remind you most of "To Live," though it's not nearly as good a film. It offers many powerful moments, however, and it nails the oppressive version of familial duty pretty well. It also covers -- minus the imprisonment, torture and propaganda -- China's Cultural Revolution. Performances are strong, and visually the film is lovely to look at and often teeming with life.

I do wish that Joan Chen, as the mother, had allowed a wrinkle or two to grace her lovely face. She let them put some weight on her, but aging 30-40 years generally calls for a bit more than this. (The fellow who plays the father certainly ages appropriately.) Sentimental and long (but seldom slow-moving), this one's worth a watch for a number of reasons. By the end, you may feel that it has flirted with greatness but never given over to it.




GreenCine Member Rating
12345678910

(Average 6.50)
4 Votes
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