Life on a String (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Life on a String (1990)

Life on a String





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

An old, blind banjo player (Zhongyuan Liu) was promised as a child that when he broke his thousandth string, his sight would be restored. As the promised cure draws near, he and his apprentice, Shitou (Lei Huang), also blind, diverge in their beliefs on the purpose of music. Qing Xu also stars in writer-director Kaige Chen's heartfelt fable, adapted from the novel by Tiesheng Shi.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
On DVD: May 18, 1994


Liu Zhongyuan
as Old Musician
Huang Lei
as Young Musician
Xu Qing
as Lanxiu
Ma Ling
as Noodleshop Owner's W...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Life on a String

Critic Reviews for Life on a String

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Chen's symbols at times clash as expressively as Paradjanov's

Full Review… | September 25, 2009

June 15, 2005

June 1, 2005
International Press Academy

Audience Reviews for Life on a String

Okay but not the best in Chinese film history. Acceptable but not great.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Old blind musician wanders around the Chinese backwaters with young blind disciple in tow. There is a plot.. old musician believes than when he breaks his 1000th string on his instrument (hence the title) he will see again and there's some quite pretty music and some philosophical fortune-cookie musings but really not enough to keep you glued to the screen for 110 minutes. Quite a good film to take up origami to keep you semi-preoccupied during the slow unfolding. .

Lesley N

Super Reviewer


A gentleman recommended this because I liked Farewell My Concubine. All I can say is that it sure ain't on par with that movie. It's so obvious from the beginning to end exactly what the message of the film is.

Life on a String Quotes

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