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To Live back to product details

Tragedy in moderation
written by elvlee May 2, 2004 - 3:58 PM PDT
9 out of 9 members found this review helpful
Zhang Yimou proves once again that he is one of the great storytellers of our time. "To Live" follows the life and times of one family through 3 decades of political turmoil in China.

A fact that is often overlooked by viewers this film and others like (Joy Luck Club, etc.) is that this is -- believe it or not -- not far from the average Chinese family's story. When one watches Joy Luck Club, for example, one often cannot help but be struck by the level tragedy which befalls one family. However, because of the incredible amount of turmoil and revolution that China has endured in the last 100 years alone, that amount of tragedy is altogether too common. I learned this as I grew older, and discovered that both my family and my friends' families had similar pasts and histories which they had managed to escape and overcome.

For this reason, "To Live" is a particularly well painted picture of life in those times. To begin with, you don't have to be prepared for a super-sobfest to watch this film. As I said, tragedy in moderation. The film is sad, there is no doubt about that, but it is not sad for the sake of being sad, nor would I call it tragic. In addition, culturally speaking most families will never tell of such sordid affairs to non-family members -- both because they wish to 'save face', and because often have been raised to believe their stories are unexceptional (and thus not worthy of being told). Because of this, the works of storytellers such as Zhang Yimou are all the more important, lest these stories go untold and lost forever.


(Average 7.82)
92 Votes
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