Skip to main content

THE BLUE KITE

China, 1993 (MIFF 1994)

Director: Tian Zhuangzhuang

A rival to Jung Chang's Wild Swans as the most moving and convincing account of the realities of life under Mao's regime, The Blue Kite remains banned and unseen in China. Tian Zhuangzhuang's work has always challenged the official cultural line and his new film (which was finished offshore with extensive covert correspondence and style notes from Tian) has initiated a new round of government crackdowns on filmmakers. Already known in the West for his spectacular and controversial film Horse Thief, here Tian creates a work that is epic in scope but intimate in feel. Through the eyes of a young boy, we follow the tribulations of a Beijing family from the 1950s into the nightmare years of the Cultural Revolution. At once melodramatic and strikingly realistic, this coming of age story is set during a period often glorified but too rarely dissected, and watching young Tietou as infant, child and adolescent, we discover political history through the microcosm of the family. Courageous, personal and absorbing, this domestic drama is built of the intimate details of lives caught up in a turmoil of betrayal, loss and endless doubt. In this terrible atmosphere, humanity and love only survive with tenacity and courage.

Though monumental in its visual and historical scope, painstakingly recreated and crafted, it is the human face of Tian's characters - especially Lu Liping as the mother - that makes The Blue Kite soar.

See also...

LI LIANYING - THE IMPERIAL EUNUCH

From Tian Zhuangzhuang, the director of Horse Thief, comes this unique re-telling of the long reign of Tz'u-hsi, the Empress Dowager of turn-of-the-century China, as seen through the memory of Li ... More »

delamu

"The 'Tea Horse Route' is the highest and most perilous of China's ancient trading routes, originating in western Yunnan, ascending the Tibetan plateau, winding through the Himalayas into Nepal ... More »

STORM

The play an which Storm is based was written, directed, and played by Ching Shan, as is the film. It Is one of the most powerful and original of modern Chinese films and is concerned with the real ... More »

A Stroll Around Peking

The film starts with morning in Peking and introduces us to the capital as it may be seen during a day's tour. Although historical monuments are shown we also see the changes of the last ten years. ... More »

The Boy and the Buffalo

A fierce buffalo following its owner suddenly becomes angry and runs wild. A fable about iron hands and velvet gloves. ... More »

UNCHARTED RIVER

In the years following the downfall of the Gang of Four, a recurrent theme in Chinese cinema has been the hardships faced by the people during the Cultural Revolution. Uncharted River is more ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director