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Zhou Yu's Train E-mail
Reviews - Movies & Cinema
Written by Leyla Lopos
I watched a Gong Li movie the other day, the title of the movie is Zhou Yu's Train (Zhou Yu de huo che -- in Chinese). Gong Li (English info) was and still is probably one of the most famous Chinese actresses, she used to team up with Zhang Yimou a lot, they've made some quite well known movies together, and both of them have achieved some international fame.

Rumor says they had an affair, breaking up is the reason they don't work together anymore. (Anyway, I believe the rumor.) Going back to Zhou Yu's train: I liked it, I thought I wouldn't: The plot is nothing special -- a love story between a woman and two men, sounds cliche, and I hate most love stories. This movie turns out to be pretty good though, I think it's a smart movie: set in modern times, the way they arrange the scenes is creative, the locations they choose are stunning, and the acting is good. I won't call it a great movie, it's nice enough.

But I'm a little bit worried about the market of this movie: I went to the movies with my mom (actually she wanted to see it), a young couple sitting next to me fell asleep in the first 30 minutes; when the movie was over, people around all started complain about how bad this movie is; my mom said she was totally lost -- it's a simple love story, but she didn't get it at all. I think the reason is because the director cuts the scenes a lot, so the story is jumping from here to there. (I like that actually), but most Chinese audiences are used to watch a whole straight story without thinking much.

Sometimes, due to different tastes, a lousy movie in Chinese audiences' eyes can turn out to be popular in the oversea market, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (most Chinese don't like this movie, neither do I). Oh, Zhang Yimou made a similar movie called Hero, aiming to win an Oscar (he did not). It was the most popular movie in China, though it was a big hit, many people don't like it very much. Speaking of Zhang Yimou, a question comes to my mind: Is he reallly that good and exceptional? His movies have done well in many film festivals, but does he win these awards by the movies themselves?

Most of his successful movies are about ancient China (like the story of a man and his five wives) or poor village life, they're bizarre, they're mysterious, which are easier to catch people's attention, every time he tries to shoot something modern, he fails. I'm not saying he's not a good director, I do think he's pretty good, but...well, movies are good windows, Chinese watch lots of foreign movies getting to know more about the outside world, but most Chinese movies showing overseas are about old China or Kung Fu movies, they're the pictures of the past, why not creating and showing something new? The reality in today's China. Something ordinary? Like normal people's daily lives?

I really want to write more about it, but I don't have much time at this moment, I'll talk more about Chinese movies in other posts here on New Dynasty.

Watch "Zhou Yu's Train" right here on ND:

Our valuable Editor Leyla Lopos has been with us since Sunday, 17 April 2011.

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