Santos . Richie R.
ritch at admu.edu.ph
Tue Jan 28 11:19:08 PHT 2003
In celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year,
the Chinese Studies Program
invites you to a special screening of Together
TOGETHER (He Ni Zai Yiqi)
Directed by Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, Yellow Earth)
Starring Tang Yun, Chen Hong, Liu Peiqi, Chen Kaige
Friday, 7 February 2003
Social Sciences AVR
Admission is free.
(in Chinese Mandarin with English subtitles)
Chen Kaige's latest film, TOGETHER (HE NI ZAI YI QI) is set in a small
southern town, where a young boy named Xiao Chun (Tan Yun) has learned
playing violin from his mother. His father Liu Chen (Liu Peiqi), an
ordinary cook, brings him to Beijing for a violin contest. Liu Chen starts
looking for the best violin teacher for his son while Xiao Chun, who
received little love from his own mother, has developed an unusual
relationship with Li Li (Chen Hong), a nightclub girl who lives next door.
Time passes by, Xiao Chun begins to understand his father's love and Li
Li, who once only made use of the young boy, starts helping Xiao Chun's
quest of becoming a great violinist ... Inspired by a true story, TOGETHER
Is written and directed by Chen Kaige. This is his first time to work with
his wife Chen Hong, who not only produced the film but also played the
female leading role, Li Li. Chen Kaige also stars as the violin professor,
By Kirk Honeycutt (13 September 2002)
TORONTO -- From Chen Kaige, a director known in the West mostly for films
tinged with historical or political themes, comes "Together," a
surprisingly sentimental character piece whose neo-Victorian sensibilities
D.W. Griffith might have embraced. Yet for all the film's warmth, humanity
and sense of humor, there is a subtle socio-political critique of modern
China running through this tender tale. As both a feel-good movie and an
intimate look at the changing social life of urban China, "Together"
should find appreciative theatrical audiences worldwide.
Based loosely on a true story, "Together" concerns hard-working, always
optimistic peasant Liu Cheng (Liu Peiqi), whose 13-year-old son Xiaochun
(Tang Yun) has won a string of regional prizes for his violin playing. The
man decides to take the child protege to Beijing for further musical
studies. When his son places fifth in a competition for a spot at a music
academy -- a judgment owning to the bribery of other contestants' parents
-- Liu Cheng lays siege to an eccentric teacher until he agrees to take on
his son as a private pupil.
Professor Jiang (Wang Zhiwen) operates out of an unclean flat where stray
cats roam freely and clothing mildews under the bed. As wrapped up as
Xiaochun becomes in his studies, he is even more entranced by Lili (Chen
Hong), a sexy neighbor who leads a fast life with a series of rich
Lili pays the young boy to play for her in her apartment and, unknowingly,
becomes Xiaochun's first love. Then, when the opportunity arises for the
violinist to switch to a well-known teacher, Professor Yu (played by
director Chen), who could guide the boy to international renown, Xiaochun
sells his violin to buy an expensive gift for his beloved.
Chen and cinematographer Kim Hyungkoo bathe the tale in a glowing light,
unlike most Beijing-based movies, which tend to see the Chinese capital as
a drab place. From mean apartments and decaying inner courtyards to sleek,
modern apartments and shopping malls, a fairy-tale glow settles over the
This doesn't keep Chen from making trenchant observations about the new
order of things in China, where fame and material goods are pursued
aggressively by all the adult characters save for Professor Jiang. Both
teachers compliment Xiaochun on how he plays from the heart. Yet this is
precisely what is missing from his two teachers.
Jiang let his pride come between him and the woman he loved years before.
Yu operates in a cutthroat environment where pupils are pitted against
each other and music is less about art than privilege. Meanwhile, Lili
feels the pull of Western consumerism, spending all her disposable cash on
designer clothes -- a lifestyle she finances through her love affairs.
The film is a tad too long and piles up too many complications and plot
twists as the climax nears. But the actors are triumphant in roles that
defy expectations. Tang beautifully conveys the confusion of a youth
caught between his first infatuation with a female and his adoration for
music. Liu epitomizes the blind zeal that reaches for acclaim and success
without consideration of the consequences. For all his daft
eccentricities, Wang turns Professor Jiang into the one adult voice of
reason in the movie: He urges the young genius to play music for its own
sake and not self-aggrandizement.
The behind-the-camera work is all excellent, especially Zhao Lin's music
that mingles subtle Chinese strains with the Western classical music,
Kim's richly textured cinematography and Cao Jiuping's set designs that
underscore the contrasts in the increasingly cosmopolitan city of Beijing.
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