To Live


For the next few class periods we will watch the film To Live, directed by Zhang Yimou.  This film is shows the struggles of one family in China from the conflict between the KMT and the CCP through the Communist Revolution (Liberation of 1949), the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76.  The film is still banned in China today. 


Characters:       Fugui = husband

                        Jiazhen = wife

                        Fengxia = daughter

                        Youqing = son

                        Chunsheng = Fugui’s friend who likes to drive

                        Wan Erxi = the daughter’s husband


Themes:            the role of husband/wife

                        changing shape of the role of sons

the war between the CCP and the KMT


                        backyard steel productions / The Great Leap Forward

                        feudal” entertainments

                        the sentiment toward Taiwan

                        class labels (Capitalist Roader, Rightist, etc.)

                        the changing ceremonies for marriage

                        The Red Guard

                        Mao as an art form

                        persecution of intellectuals

                        The Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution



For each section of the film we watch (three sections in all) I may ask you to write a paragraph (half a page or so) which will be due the following class period.  In each compare what you’ve seen in the film with what you’ve read in the novel you have been reading.  You may pick one of the themes above and tell how each work handles it or you may find comparisons/contrasts on your own.  Each of these will count for points to be added into your quizzes/questions grades.