Zhang Yimou's THE ROAD HOME
A movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
A businessman returns to his country home in rural China to bury his recently deceased schoolteacher father. He finds his distraught mother insisting on a long funeral procession with friends and former students bearing the coffin. The road to be taken has special meaning dating back to the parents' courtship. It is the courtship in flashback that dominates the film.
This is a gorgeous, touching film. The contemporary sections depicting present day are in black and white. The bulk of the film, depicting the courtship of the mother (at age 18) and father (at age 20) is in radiant color, with image framing and photography imparting a lush, almost dreamlike feeling to the film.
The story is gentle and respectful. Concentration on the lead characters and their daily actions is absolute. Opportunities for political or social commentary are there, but only glanced over. The love story, both chaste and reserved, with an undercurrent of resolute strength on the part of the young woman, takes center stage. Zhang Ziyi, who plays the young woman with strength and grace, later played Jen in Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She also stars in Memoirs of a Geisha.
There are few extras on this DVD, but the movie, beautifully rendered, holds center stage. The English subtitles are easy to follow.
Director Zhang Yimou also directed Not One Less and Shanghai Triad, which I also highly recommend.