Zhang's Berlin Special Jury Prize-winner sees the present in grey, dispiriting monochrome, but flashes back to the politically fraught 1950s in rapturous colour - questionably suggesting that the Chinese were tougher, truer and more sincere in the good old days of political persecution. Set in a remote northern village, it charts one pretty girl's dogged courtship of the young teacher at the local school - the first obstacle being social taboos against unchaperoned meetings, the second being his lengthy disappearance for questioning in connection with 1957's 'Anti-Rightist campaign'. Both subject and style recall Xie Jin's The Herdsman (1981), a prime example of the kind of cinema that the 'Fifth Generation' directors supposedly swept away. The ultra-sentimental ending spells out the point that the Chinese can be as good as they ever were if only they stay in touch with their traditions.
The Road Home
Cast and crew