A Japanese father travels to China's Yunnan province in the place of his ailing son to film a famous folk-opera star.
This is a Chinese / Japanese co-production directed by acclaimed director Zhang Yimou.
Most of the cast are amateurs, but the more well known are Takakura Ken and Shinobu Terajima.
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Cast & Credits
Truly brilliant across the board. As the special feature said, since he'd made these world-renowned blockbuster films, he could pretty much do what he wanted with what cast he wanted. The big names were mostly from the Japanese side of the cast, but the Chinese used virtually all amateurs. Even actual tour guides. And it was incredible. Yimou Zhang is officially a genius, in my mind. It made for a very natural and beautiful feeling. I really can't even describe how moved I was by this film.
Takakura Ken was absolutely incredibly. He reminds me of a couple of older men I know, and probably will you too. Those rough, silent men that struggle to express themselves. And the quietly powerful emotion this actor gets across is simply mind-blowing. Not to mention the great acting from the little boy.
I also was able to see parts of China that I didn't realize existed. Very rough country that reminds me a lot of different places I've visited in western U.S, but unique at the same time.
I would describe this as a quiet film but with so, so much depth. This is not a movie I will easily forget and will end up purchasing before too long. Don't miss this one!
Asides from that, true to his style, Yimou has once again succeeded in making a very visually beautiful movie. As usual, just like in his previous works House of the Flying Daggers, Hero, or Raise the Red Lanterns, the cinematography presented on this movie is also breathtaking and dazzling.
And then there's Takakura Ken, which one can consider as one of the "giants" in Japanese cinema. He brilliantly portrays Takata-san as a quiet and likeable man who’s drowning in sorrow. But it is unfair to focus solely on his performance, because everyone else in the cast was amazing. I was especially captivated by the bright young actor who plays Yang Yang. His mischivieous, distrustful stubborn-smudged face, is ironically so loveable that you just wanna hug him and pinch his cheeks.
For me, this is by far, the best of Yimou's movie that I have watched, and it’s a worthy addition to my list of favourite films.