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A beautiful love story between a father and his son.
I didn't have many expectations for this film having long since lost my patience for subtitles and slow-moving foreign films. This film was a very pleasant surprise. A beautifully rendered story about the sacrifices we make for art, the sacrifices parents make for children, and the sacrifices teachers make for their students. I found myself thinking about the larger questions in life as I watched Han ni zai yiki--the struggles of the young protagonist to become a man, the heart-breaking dilemma that allows his father to become one as well, and the ways in which we lose our ways in life, and luckily how the entry of a new love (in its platonic sense) can get us back on the path.
At its center, Han ni zai yiki is the story of a father and his son. Never have I seen this relationship told with such honesty and impact. Instead of a perfect father giving pearls of wisdom to a son eager for his approval, we see an imperfect man doing the best he can for a son who is not necessarily appreciative.
It is sentimental, but that doesn't stop it from being thought-provoking, or from teaching the viewer something he or she is likely to have forgotten in this age of kung-fu special effect sequences and digitized actors.
In the U.S. at least, we've been saturated with ever-dumber plot lines, plasticized breasts, and explosions to emphasize every character realization. It's unusual to go to the cinema to be treated to a real story with complex and realistic characters in difficult situations that actually have some bearing on our lives. Together was a breath of fresh air.
I hope that the negative opinions expressed earlier don't stop anyone from seeing this film. Although I'd waited four years to see the sequel to the Matrix, I'd have to say, without a doubt, Han ni zai yiki is the best film I've seen all year.
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