seven | reviews | film reviews | .

"the road home" (1999) - yimou zhang
posted on 12-Mar-2002 by anton

I find myself more and more willing to compromise watching films like that, I have no problems with closing my eyes on certain shortcomings and be so accepting, enjoying the best I can find in almost everything, this sort of active, seeking acceptance is what makes me a worthless critic in some ways, but at the same time I think it is a fine line and with enough objectivity I can balance it all. maybe it does take a lot of objectivity and effort to be able to immerse yourself so seamlessly, so completely.

no matter what I do, the G rating is what irks me about this film, how shallow and superficial, but labels like that are just so final, so limiting. the immediate response of any American to this movie would be the word sending shivers down my spine - "disney". and in many respects they would be right - not a fairy tale completely, but a very drawn-out, hopelessly romantic, idealized and very shallow in many respects story. but let's make an effort, let's create what is missing, let's notice what is good and worth noticing, let's see if we can look at it from a different viewpoint.

first of all - cinematography - bleak back and white winter of today, flat, quiet everyday existence; compare this with idolized past, bright, shimmering colors, drenched in incredible lighting, sort of soft and yet so radiant with colors, emotions, textures. this na´ve, colorful way of remembering the past, idealizing the story that has become a myth, known to many.

the story does not have the pathos or emotional grandeur, it does have this quiet charming primitivism and certain na´ve purity that I could relate to, remembering certain kiarostami pictures, or even soviet counterparts (which at some point makes me wonder if this was more of a homage, a personal film, in some respects). however the year the film was made (1999) suggest certain escapism from reality, especially when nothing suggest the political turmoil in 50s, except for the distant and passing mention of some "trouble" in "the city". the archaic setting itself makes me wonder how Americans will take it, knowing how real some of it was, even judging by the soviet history; for some audience will be a completer exotica in itself, pushing the story even further into the realm of fantasy.

I would probably recommend this to anyone that could appreciate the cinematography - vibrant colors and some exceptionally beautiful shots (not to mention the presence of zhang ziyi, more known for her appearance in "crouching tiger, hidden dragon"); those that would not be able to get past "streamlined" story and some overly romanticized imagery should probably try their luck somewhere else.

seven | reviews | film reviews | .