Director: Zhang Yang
Cast: Zhao Ben Shan, Song Dan Dan, Guo De Gang, Hu Jun, Sun Hai Ying, Liao Fan, Xia Yu, Wu Ma, Liu Jin Shan, Zhang Di, Guo Tao
If the motherland were a river, I would be a fish swimming happily. If the motherland were a road, I would be a car moving forward happily. If the motherland were a tree, I would be a leaf waving in the breeze happily.
Life is unpredictable, consisting of ups and downs.Sometimes you may be in high spirits, but at other times you can feel very low. Sometimes you may meet very good people, but don't forget villains do exist. Sometimes you may bound forward and run quickly, but you can be found staggering along one night.
After a dead leaf falls down, it is absorbed by the soil and a new plant will grow.The cycle of birth, growth and death repeats itself, like the river in the last scene. That's life...
No matter how feeble and helpless we may feel sometimes, human beings will still struggle with the environment and fate for an opportunity to live. Ahead of us are lots of things to experience, exciting and depressing. Nevertheless, because of pain, we know what pleasure is. (That's just like the walking scenes in the movie. When the girls working in the field, cars, cow and bicycle pass by, we know how fast Old Zhao walks. By the way, the audience may pay attention to the symbolic meanings of different vehicles in the movie, e.g. bicycles, coaches, carts, private cars, trucks, buses, etc.) If we were doomed to the sufferings, what we are able to change would be the way in which we interpret them. Be positive and never give up!
The movie ends suddenly and the unfinished business may puzzle some members of the audience. However, I personally find it very meaningful and symbolic. The ending successfully upgrades this can-be-typical road movie to an abstract motto. "Life is a road comprising UPS and DOWNS. Do live each day happily as it comes and enjoy life to the full!" The ending (i.e. the river) also symbolically implies that human beings should not always emphasize the importance of results. Instead, we should pay attention to the process.
Those touching moments, black humor, superb acting and the meaningful ending make this road movie a unique and impressive one causing catharsis. Moved to tears and laughter, you may ponder on the meaning of LIFE when you leave the theatre. HIGHLY recommended! I believe it will be chosen as one of my top ten movies in 2007.
Reviewed by: Kenji Chan