Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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After years of banishment and working outside the system, director Zhang Yuan returns to the fold with the government approved drama Seventeen Years. Although decidedly less socio-politically relevant than Zhang's previous work, the official seal hardly weakens the movie's strong emotional content, centered around the reconstitution and reevaluation of traditional family values in the age of Chinese neo-capitalism. Enlisting the talents of top writers Yu Hua and Zhu Wen also guarantees a deeply felt drama with real characters. Zhang's sudden leniency towards the censorship board must be weighed against the opportunity to shoot parts of the movie within the walls of a Chinese prison, thus allowing the director to include a subtle and indirect critique of societal and personal repression in modern China.
There is a new channel on my parents sky plus called World Movies and it was on this channel I saw Seventeen Years.
Essentially Seventeen Years is one of the most simple movies I have ever seen.
I could quite easily record verbatim the happenings in the whole movie in one paragraph yet strangely this movie keeps the viewers attention from start to finish and it provides (one suspects) an accurate depiction of live in China.
The blurb for the movie talks about how 'Sibling rivalry leads to murder' this may be true but one feels this isn't the point of the movie, one believes that the point is how small actions in haste have big consequences.
Certainly a must for world movie fans I would recommend this movie if you wanted a simple interesting film, however its simplicity can also been a criticism as this gives the film very little value after being viewed once.
Verdict pleasant and endearing however by no means special or brilliant 3 stars.
A good Chinese human drama from one of China's best directors today, Yuan Zhang. Since his debut, Zhang, well known as one of the 6th generation Chinese directors, sets the family and traditional Chinese Confucian moral as the center theme of his films as he does in this one. Simple and calm style of story-telling without dramatic developments or emotional scores is Zhang's specialty. Very well planed camera-work and sound design are great. Zhang is really good at catching the atmosphere of Chinese big cities, especially Beijing. In terms of both theme and technique, this film is his milestone. All actors are great, but especially Bing-Bing Li, now one of the top stars in China, shows her solid potential as an actress.
This movie shows how little that five yuan (which was big money back then, and a lot for many even today) really means if we look back at events that occurred after a family fight about it.
Occasionally movie can feel bit tear-squeezing, meaning that some of the moments in movie might feel that they are put there just to make viewers cry... but mostly it's a well put together story with pretty good point.
It is also nice to see bit unconventional prison guard to be so selfless and give her just as short vacation time to help out an inmate, instead of celebrating new years with her parents as originally planned.
And last but not least:
that even the unforgivable can be finally forgiven.
Touching, full of humanity and beauty, and unforgettable. Highly recommended.
A very touching film of step-sibling rivalry where the good daughter is not always as good as she seems and the bad daughter is not always as bad as she seems. A step-father being able to forgive and to learn to love the step-child who murdered his only biological child is a amazing journey and one that is not necessarily expected.