Joined: 09 Feb 2003 Posts: 784 Location: Singapore
Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:35 am Post subject: TOGETHER : A film "recommended" by Haley
Hi everyone ,
I think I did recommend this film before, but the thread must have been lost in the Great PC Crash of 2004 . Sigh .
Anyway, I felt that this film definitely needs to have a presence on this board , because it was mentioned prominently by Haley Joel Osment himself in an interview that he did in 2003 . We're not sure what he thought about the film, but he said that he went to see this film with a close friend of his ( in response to his having been asked what kind of films he would watch )
Haley said in that interview :
Luckily, a lot of my friends, we’re big into films and a wide range of films. A lot of my really close friends have really good film tastes. We’ve been watching all the classics and really good quality films. I saw a lot of independent films last year. We hit the Laemmle [art house theater] as much as possible seeing the documentaries and everything. Luckily, I met a lot of kids who have really advanced tastes in filmmaking. I went to go see Together with a really good friend of mine a couple weeks ago. We’re trying to see it all, I guess, so yeah. Even though it’s obvious that some of those cheaper entertainment films get a lot of audiences, I guess, simply because it’s easy to be entertained by that. And being 15, you can be entertained by something like that. Luckily, a lot of my friends, we’re big into films and a wide range of films. A lot of my really close friends have really good film tastes. We’ve been watching all the classics and really good quality films. I saw a lot of independent films last year. We hit the Laemmle [art house theater] as much as possible seeing the documentaries and everything.
Together is one of those wonderful small movies that you come across once in a long time . It is a film that tells a simple tale of a father's tremendous love for his son , of the sacrifices that each one would need to make , both father and son, for each other , as they both try to forge a future for themselves .
The ending of Together is a truly bitter-sweet one, and one that affected me deeply . It made me marvel at the depth of love that a parent could have for his child , and vice versa , and it brought a deep lump to my throat and a tear to my eye .
All in all , a lovely film with a story well told by director Chen Kaige, and heartfelt performances from veteren actor Liu Peiqi as the father , and newcomer Tang Yun as his son.
If you have an opportunity to see this film on big screen, don't miss it , but the DVD is now available and well worth getting .
Ronin Cinemas reviewed Together as excerpted :
Chen remains a director shaped by his experiences as a young man during the Cultural Revolution, and those experiences colour his observation of contemporary Chinese society which he describes as being in "spiritual crisis". In his own words: "On one level, TOGETHER is a coming-of-age tale about a boy and his father, and about his quest for success in the brutally competitive world of classical music. But beneath the surface, we become aware of the ways in which Chinese people are changing - socially, economically, spiritually. The ubiquitous cell-phone, the unquenchable thirst for the latest material goods, the cut-throat environment of the music world all signal the chaos and spiritual aridity of modern life in China. ... It is hard to describe the privations and restrictions we endured (during the Cultural Revolution), in the prime of our young lives. As young people we were sent to the countryside to work in labour camps and often did without many basic necessities, sometimes without adequate food or medicine. But even then we could see that nature, even life itself, has given us everything we need. Sometimes only in the absence of those material comforts do we realize the spiritual resources we actually have. I think that what I internalised during those turbulent times has influenced each of my films, and no less so than TOGETHER." These experiences help to explain the decision taken by Xiaochun at the end of the film.
The cast is remarkable: apart from Chen himself as Professor Yu, and Chen's wife, Chen Hong, who plays Lili, the young woman who befriends the young violinist, the film is given great strength by its two leads playing father and son. Tang Yun (Xiaochun) was himself a violinist from an early age and had gone on to win many awards and recognition as a child prodigy. He now studies violin at a prestigious and exclusive academy in Beijing. Although his violin music is itself remarkable, much of the music in the film is actually played off-screen by Chuan Yun Li, one of the stars of the Chinese concert stage. Co-starring with Tang Yun is Liu Peiqi as his father, Liu Cheng. Liu Peiqi is a veteran of many films since the mid-80s, including ERMO (released in Australia by Ronin) and Zhang Yimou's THE STORY OF QIUJU. He was awarded the Best Actor Award at the San Sebastian Film festival for his performance in TOGETHER, the first Chinese actor to receive that award.
The acting in the film was absolutely first rate. Liu Peiqi as the tirelessly devoted father brought a lot of subtlety and secrets to the role that took time to piece together. This cast in general was exceptionally strong. Special recognition has to be made to Tang Yun, though. As a non-actor, Tang Yun brings in a sweetness and emotion that many professionals can't convey. He comes off as a natural on the screen that the audience can relate to him. Xiaochun goes through some real rollercoaster rides as he learns about himself and secrets are revealed, and Tang Yun handled them with real talent.
Another incredible aspect of Tang Yun's performance, however, is his musical ability. I have seen many musician based films where musical situations are imitated on screen and they have been generally OK to horrible. Tang Yun, in contrast, is clearly an exceptional musician. Throughout the movie he is shown playing a wide variety of compositions from Strauss to Sibelius to Tchaikovsky. The actual music is played by another musician but Tang Yun must pretend to play it for the film's sake. If you watch him carefully, you notice that Tang Yun IS playing the music. Every single note is what Tang Yun is playing on the screen. Tang Yun does an amazing job. The most difficult piece is the challenging Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, which is a challenge for professionals much less a 13 year old boy. And yet when Tang Yun plays it, you are swept away with him in the music and it's dazzling passages. During this entire sequence, I honestly thought that Tang Yun was playing it. He was that good! As a classical music lover and a moderately competent musician, I was really floored by Tang Yun's abilities.
"Together" was a wonderful film to watch. It allowed people to sit down and watch other normal people from a different culture trying to survive and make the best of what life had to offer. It also allowed people to see that even though our cultures are different, they are also very much alike. You can't help but care about Xiaochun, Liu Chen and the other characters because in watching them we are watching ourselves.
Joined: 23 May 2004 Posts: 823 Location: The Netherlands
Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:05 pm Post subject:
Thanks for posting this one Daniel. Haven't seen in yet, but now it's definitely on my must-see list.
So much to see, and so little time. I'm currently enjoying a week off work, so I'm really trying to catch up with things. When I'm having a holiday and I'm staying close to home, you can mostly find me in a theatre on at home watching a film on DVD. Currently I'm seeing movies in the theatre - I really have some catching up to do.
Saw Oliver Stone's Alexander today - which seems to have been severely crushed by the critics. Which is a shame really. There's some really good stuff in there. Ah well. Tomorrow I'm seeing Der Untergang which should be really special. After that I really need to see an uplifting film again, I think.
Thanks again for the suggestion. It has been included in my list. _________________ "You and I are real, Teddy, aren't we?"
Finally saw this film when my niece suggested it and I recalled your post, Danchia. Great film. Nicely directed, Great score, natually, since they used the classics, and wonderfully acted roles. It seemed to jump around bit, and seemed to be going someplace else than where it wound up, but definitely a warm experience. _________________ http://www.myspace.com/pazu7
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:41 pm Post subject: TOGETHER
I bought the dvd and watched it this week.I really enjoyed the film but I thought the ending was a little weak compared to the strong showing in the opening and middle part of the film.It is a little hard to sum up the ending but it felt a little scripted the last 5 minutes as if the film was trying to rush itself and trying to wrap itself up quickly and simply for a happy ending.It was certainly one film not to be missed...the acting is very good and the film provides a good insight about how good chineses cinema is today which is often overlooked in the United States compared to the attention given to foreign films that come out of Europe.I was glad I saw this film!
Joined: 23 May 2004 Posts: 823 Location: The Netherlands
Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:48 am Post subject:
I finally saw this film as well, and I loved it. I think I experienced what Pazu meant with the film 'jumping around a bit', but as the film continued it became more and more powerful, and things certainly fell more in place.
I loved the visuals in the film. It is great to see things that you don't see everyday. I haven't seen a lot of chinese cinema, and Together was a delight.
The ending, wow. Speaking about a lump in the throat. It really got me as well, I'll never forget that last fade-out / fade-in / fade-out sequence. Combined with the music it was sheer magic.
Awesome film. _________________ "You and I are real, Teddy, aren't we?"
I think I am the only who didn't absolutely love this film. Don't get me wrong, I liked it but after one viewing it's not my all-time favourite movie.
I considered the acting of the father horrible and Xiaochun isn't nearly as talented as other child actors (I will not mention Haley ). The first teacher's acting is then again a lot better for he makes his character a bit mysterious (which I like).
The visuals are fenomenal and the score is also well chosen, maybe a little chaotic but it didn't disturb me. I liked the shown difference between the richer and the poorer parts of Beijing and the importance of influence and money on becoming.
I liked the use of the violin in the movie. It fits right with the characters and their problems.
I agree with Busara on the ending, what beautiful use of music and visuals! But I am a little in debate with myself about the ending because professor Yu's speach about Xiaochun letting his father down if he doesn't reach stardom quite impresses Xiaochun , and the next moment Xiaochun is throwing all his possibilities away for his love and respect for his father. I think it is a little selfish of the kid to only think of the fact that he want to go with his father. All his father wanted was him not to become like him and not to end up living in small wooden houses wearing home-made clothes, but Xiaochun ignores this and act's the way his father wouldn't want him.
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