Friday, March 26, 2010


aka He Ni Zai Yi Qi
Chen Kaige, 2002, China (9.5*)
Perhaps the greatest father-son story yet captured on film. Chen Kaige abandons his customary huge-scale epic costume drama to make a small intimate film about the intensely personal affection of a father and son. A poor worker from a small Chinese city (touchingly played by Peigi Liu) has a talented musician son who wins all the local violin competitions. He decides to take his son to Beijing to find a world-class music professor for his son at his own expense in order to elevate him to the level of professional international musicians.

This is a very engrossing and touching film with just five characters: the son, his father, two different music teachers, and a pretty young woman who befriends the teenage boy, in effect becoming a surrogate mother, and pays him to play privately for her. For me, this is Kaige's most successful story, and also his most innovative direction, which seems to have a very European cinematic style. A must for fans of classical music, especially violin music. Director Chen himself plays the more noted professor.

Note: Kaige is best known for large-scale costume epics such as Farewell, My Concubine and The Emperor and the Assassin


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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