Old Well

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This chronicles decades of ill-fated attempts to dig for water in an arid village in the Taihang mountains, and like some Chinese answer to Padre Padrone, tells the story of the village's first college graduate and his struggle to bring a measure of rationality to a bizarre and backward community. The result is not the standard tract on Third World problems, but a quite remarkable warts-and-all portrait of the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese people, shot through with memorable characters and moments of heart-stopping intensity. At its core is a stunning performance from first-time actor Zhang Yimou, the brilliant young cinematographer of Yellow Earth.

By: TR

Release details

Duration: 130 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Wu Tianming
Screenwriter: Yi Zheng
Cast: Zhang Yimou
Liang Yujin
Xie Yan
Lu Liping
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