Coming Home 归来
Zhang Yimou and Gong Li reunite after many years to bring us another love story that is simple and cliche in its narrative but emotionally challenging for its stars and audience.
Zhang's directing is secure and steady, bringing the story along at a comfortable pace. Brilliantly setting the backbone of the protagonists' love that would establish the heartache that follows. But, this film also explored the complexity of the love between parent(s) and child, state and self, country and family.
Thankfully, the political overtures faded to the background from the Second Act. Although it was interesting to see that slice of Chinese history. Kudos to Zhang for bringing that onto the big screen.
Gong Li is as usual mesmerising. Even in the drab clothes that she was dressed in, her eyes shone through with every flickering emotions that Zhang wrought her through. One particular scene stood out for without words, a whole gamut of emotions raced through Gong's eyes and face. From fear to trepidation, anticipation to denial, love to disgust.
Chen Daoming played the male lead, and although his role was less showy, he still managed to convincingly showcased the undeniable love that he had for the woman that he loved.
The story by Yan Geling is a familiar one. Cliche but heartbreakingly so. Unfortunately, some of that cliche-ness was not handled as well by Zhang which led to some unintentional (?) comedic moments. Light-hearted, but jarring.
That final scene was such a bittersweet moment. Especially if you understood the meaning of the Chinese name: "焉識" litterally means "how to reconise".