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ΒΕ­·Ίε (1993)
The Blue Kite

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 12/26/2009

On paper communism must have seemed like the socio-economical equality that the Chinese people had been denied by a century of humiliation from feudal states and foreign powers ruling from abroad.

Karl Marx viewed communism as the final stage in humanity; society without class, state, or oppression.

Ironically, communist nations have historically been authoritarian states that view even suggestion as a form of subversion.

In "The Blue Kite" Chairman Mao Zedong's communist utopia is measured against one nuclear family in Beijing, opening in 1953, whose youngest male member narrates the film -- from beyond? -- his adolescence marked by three distinct periods in Red China's formative years (Anti-Rightist Movement, Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution).

These three periods are split into three chapters, which coincide with the three men who are married to the boy's mother beginning with his biological father.

By the end of "The Blue Kite" all three men will die from direct or indirect effects of Mao's aggressive, paranoid brand of Agrarian Socialism.

"The Blue Kite" is an excellent example of a slow burn. Fifth Generation filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang takes his time establishing the atmosphere of early '50s Beijing and the characters who live in and around it that are happy for the things they have in life: food, clothing, shelter, and one another. Suffice to say, slowly, but surely, as government policies become greyer the hope once shared by the family gradually dims.

"The Blue Kite," to no surprise, was censored by the Chinese government upon completion in 1993 and Tian banned from filmmaking for nearly a decade. Audiences in need of a faster, more melodramatic telling of the same ground covered in "The Blue Kite" should consult "To Live" (released the following year to the same domestic consequence) by Tian's Fifth Generation peer Zhang Yimou. Both films have since gone on to wide international acclaim.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Tian Zhuangzhuang's controversial drama covers fifteen years inChinese revolution and counter-revolution as it affects the Chen family -- especially a mother and her unruly son -- as events beyond their control threaten to destroy blood bonds. Banned in China, this naturalistic film by and large engages despite its slow pacing and depressing subject matter.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 5