Saturday, November 23, 2013

863. Lan feng zheng/The Blue Kite (1993)

Running Time: 138 minutes
Directed By: Tian Zhuangzhuang
Written By: Xiao Mao
Main Cast: Lu Liping, Yi Tian, Zhang Wenyao, Chen Xiaoman, Zhong Ping


Man, I'd really like to know where THE BOOK came up with some of these movies. It really feels like they just pulled some of them out of thin air, in a feeble attempt to give their "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" a little class and culture.

I don't really want to get into a whole thing on the plot for two reasons: 1) Honestly, there were times when I was only half paying attention (see "Farewell My Concubine") and 2) The film deals a lot with the cultural revolution (again) and life under the reign of Chairman Mao. Therefore, I probably can't articulate all of those parallels quite right, so I don't even want to try. The good news is the film doesn't really delve as deep into history, as much as it just puts the focus onto a particular family and more specifically, a particular boy, Tietou, who is impacted by the changes in Chinese life. At a young age, Tietou's father is sent away, nominated by his colleagues while he was in the bathroom to be a rightist for the Communist Party. Tietou's father, frustrated over having to go away, spanks Tietou one day when he misbehaves. As a result, Tietou is still bitter with his father when he goes away. The film is split into three parts, with the first part entitled "Father", the second entitled "Uncle", in which Tietou's uncle (not real uncle, just one of those people you call "uncle") steps in as the new father figure and a third part entitled "Stepfather", where Tietou's mother remarries. Okay, so maybe I did go into detail on the plot, but I left out plenty.

Have you ever been in the process of short changing a movie and about halfway through you say, "Oh shit, I should've been paying better attention because this is getting better and now I've already deemed it boring"? Well, that, kind of, happened for me with "The Blue Kite". The film starts out extremely slow. It was also a quiet film, with actors delivering dialogue with their backs to the camera, lacking a real voice, one necessary in a film. Perhaps it was my recent struggles with "Farewell My Concubine" too, another film that dealt with the cultural revolution and covered many years worth of time, that caused me to be hesitant to settle into this one. However, like I said, after a while, I sort of started to perk up and while never getting swept off my feet by the movie, I did eventually settle into it and actually begin to care what the ultimate outcomes of the characters would be. It was really such a sad movie, one that could've benefited greatly from a more prevalent, emotional score and your heart really goes out to this family, that is impacted so much by the goings on of the government. I won't even go so far to say that it's good, but even if you've been scorned by other, slow moving Chinese movies that run over two hours, give this one a chance and you may get more out of it than you expect to. I guess that makes me guilty of cinematic profiling and it's a shame I watched this one so close to another film with similar thematic elements, or else I may not have been so cold toward it.

RATING: 4/10  Honestly though, as nice as I'm being, I think even if I'd given this film my all, I still don't think it would've been totally up my alley. However, I'm very willing to admit there's a great movie in there somewhere, that I just couldn't see. Oh and the significance of the blue kite? Anybody?


November 23, 2013  5:39pm


  1. "See comments bellow for Concubine"
    Although I followed this one more clearly as I do have an interest in politics.

    1. I don't really have an interest in politics, but followed this one better than "Concubine".


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