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In 1971 China, in the lingering grip of the cultural revolution, two university students, Luo and Ma, are sent to a mountain mining village as part of their reeducation duty to purge them of their classical western oriented education. Amid the backbreaking work and stifling ignorance of the community, the two boys find that music, and the presence of the beautiful local young women are the only pleasant things in their miserable life. However, none compare to the young seamstress granddaughter of the local tailor. Stealing a departing student's secret cache of forbidden books of classic western literature such as the works of Honore de Balzac, they set about to woo her and teach her things she had never imagined. In doing so, they start a journey that would profoundly change her perspective on her world and teach the boys about the power of literature and their own ability to change their world in truly revolutionary ways. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
This movie is most memorable for its beautiful scenery and while the story itself is told with skill and ambition it still lacks proper pace at times. Less would have been more here.
Also it seems that as the movie nears its end the writers had a hard time thinking of a artistically pleasing ending and by doing so overdid it just a bit. The underwater scene at the end, while having a melancholic touch, did come across as rather forced for an otherwise "natural" film.
The characters are all believable, amicable, intriguing and make you all the more interested in the story, which takes place during the Chinese cultural revolution. Do not expect historic facts since this is no documentary but a tale of love found and lost. A wonderfully poetic one, too.
A highlight of independent film making. 7/10
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