Zhou Yu's Train (2004)



Critic Consensus: Despite some beautifully framed images, this mood piece, told in a fractured fashion, is confounding and, ultimately, unsatisfying.

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Movie Info

Sun Zhou's stylized Zhou Yu de Huoche (Zhou Yu's Train) is the story of a woman in love. Zhou Yu (Gong Li) and teacher Chen Ching (Tony Leung Kar-Fai) fall in love. After Ching gives Zhou a poem he wrote for her, she begins taking a train ride twice a week to his home in order to have sex with him. During her time on the train, she strikes up a relationship with a veterinarian (Sun Honglei), but she ends their time together when she learns that he spied on her during one of her visits with Ching. Gong Li has a second role as a another woman obsessed with Chen who is trying to ascertain the nature of his relationship with Zhou. This film was shown out of competition at the Berlin Film Festival.
PG-13 (for sexuality)
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Li Gong
as Zhou Yu/Xiu
Tony Leung Ka Fai
as Chen Ching
Honglei Sun
as Zhang
Zhixiong Li
as Train conductor
Dai Ke
as Librarian
Pan Weiyan
as Uncle Guai
Huang Mo
as Zhou Yu, as a young girl
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Critic Reviews for Zhou Yu's Train

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (24)

Li fails to stoke much heat in Sun Zhou's pretentious and symbolic love triangle.

October 19, 2004
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Beautiful to look at but aimless as a broken compass.

Full Review… | September 24, 2004
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Zhou Yu's Train has its strengths, but it's clearly no bullet train.

September 17, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

This is one of those languid numbers where slow motion -- and there's lots of it -- is meant to signify poetry, and a line like 'I know my lake is artificial, but it's full of water' is supposed to seem lyrical.

Full Review… | August 27, 2004
Boston Globe
Top Critic

A terrific film.

Full Review… | August 27, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic

The effort required at the end of Zhou Yu's Train to sort out exactly what just went down isn't worth the payoff.

Full Review… | August 27, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Zhou Yu's Train

lavish and slow moving this reminded me of the films of Wong Kar Wai as a women moves between 2 lovers, I would say the trains,buses and cable cars serve as a metaphor for sex (oh boy Frued), and distance between us and the characters in the movie, well done.

Gregory Wood
Gregory Wood

China is the most advanced in digital filmmaking in the world today. Filmmakers like Zhangke Jia and Lou Ye already have presented aesthetic of digital images, and here is another effort to seek possibility of digital filmmaking from Zhou Sun, who is one of the prospective Chinese directors. I think, however, I have to say this experiment failed in the end - this story definitely should have been filmed on film, not digitally. The poetic and erotic subject of the film is killed by too-clear, two dimensional digital images. Scenaries of the city beside the river and Chinese countryside could have been more visionary and symbolic if they were filmed on film... Editing is confusing too, although I understand that the filmmaker was seeking for a certain style which can fit to images. Probably because of the misfit of digital images to the subject, performance by actors looks uneasy too.

Naoya Kugimiya
Naoya Kugimiya

Beautifully filmed and intriguing. Time lines confused (you're never sure what the actual chronology is).

Dave Culpepper
Dave Culpepper

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