Last month the local library district hosted a film festival on three consecutive Thursday nights, showing some Chinese movies that I hadn’t seen. I was interested, but my schedule doesn’t allow me to just up and saunter over to the theater on a weeknight, so I found two of the movies at the library and watched them when I did have some time.
The Road Home was a fine movie, most especially as the screen debut of young Zhang Ziyi, who would go on to be the “invincible sword goddess” in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Here, she is a rural farm girl infatuated with a city slicker school teacher. Her charmingly unselfconscious devotion is a breath of fresh air.
In what was the movie’s most entertaining scene, she runs through the woods trying to catch up to the teacher as he’s being taken by a carriage back to the big city. She rushes over and down wooded hills to cut off the carriage and give her crush the meal in a bowl that she’s lovingly prepared for him. The camera tracks long shots of her running through the forest in thick snow pants, the only sound a deep corduroy zhoop-zhoop-zhoop. Its simple romance–for emotion and for nature–is elemental.
My 9-year-old son was watching this one with me, and around this point he even said, “I wish I lived near a forest. It would be so calm and peaceful to be able to just sit around and listen to the birds.” So it runs in the family.