Simplicity goes a long way

Simplicity goes a long way

November 04, 2012
October 21, 2012
October 21, 2012
October 21, 2012
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October 14, 2012
October 14, 2012
October 14, 2012
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October 07, 2012
Legendary director Zhang Yimou returns to the arthouse scene and shows us that simplicity goes a long way - even at the expense of budget - when it comes to touching hearts. Under the Hawthorne Tree is the gripping true tale of young lovers caught in the turbulent period of the Cultural Revolution.

As part of Chairman Mao's call for 'a classroom in every field', Jing (Zhou Dongyu) is brought to a village in Hubei to be educated by peasants, the favoured class at the time.

Jing's imprisoned father has been branded a 'rightest' - considered a bad thing in China - so every move she makes is under heavy scrutiny by the government. Even her chances of becoming a teacher hinge on 'good behaviour'. But when she meets Sun (Shawn Dou), a young man from a military family, a forbidden yet hopeful romance ensues.

It's hard to believe Zhou has no prior acting experience - she was at high school, preparing for university before landing the role - and it's refreshing to see a teen play a teen. Her rustic naivety really comes through on screen - much of it is not an act, as in real life she is that pure innocent - and her chid-like looks help.

The film's light moments arouse a nostalgic teenage innocence which is liberating for older viewers and inspiring to younger ones. Sun's advances and Jing's attempts to repress her feelings will make you tingle.

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