I'll Wait For You
Clean is the autumn wind,
Splendid is the autumn moon,
The blown leaves are heaped and scattered,
The ice-cold raven starts from its roost
Dreaming of you-when shall I see you again?
On this night sorrow fills my heart.
-Li Po (701-762)
Chinese Poet, “Verses”
In a mesmerizing story of love and
loss based on Bao Shi’s novel: “Remembrance,” you will
find two hearts. A teacher wanting to give his knowledge to the
next generation and a farm girl wanting to share her very soul
with the man she loves. This is about how in the winter of a
life, the summer is remembered and celebrated.
From the very start of this movie,
it will draw you into the intimacy of the most private thoughts
of the characters. There are thoughts about life, death, love,
loss and loneliness. The contrast of the black-and-white present
with the ecstatic color flashback scenes of the past are so
sharp, it is almost emotionally overwhelming. Snow drifts across
the frozen earth and there are scenes of the bitter cold.
The story is set around the life of
a schoolhouse built when two people fall in love. As they age,
the schoolhouse also ages and when businessman Luo Yusheng’s
(Sun Honglei) father dies, the schoolhouse is ready to be
rebuilt. He leaves the city and returns to the snowy path
leading to the mountain village of Sanhetun in Northern China.
Luo Changyu (Zheng Hao) helped to
build the schoolhouse and taught there for almost his entire
life. After getting caught in a snow storm, his heart condition
is revealed and he is unable to continue raising money for this
project. He dies never seeing his dream of the new schoolhouse
Luo Yusheng finds his mother Zhao
Di (Zhao Yuelin plays the older Di) weeping at the school. She
finally tells her son of her plans to carry her husband back in
a coffin on foot. She doesn’t want to use a car and so he must
employ people from the surrounding villages. As her son takes
care of the details, she weaves a funeral cloth for the casket.
We are reminded later of why this means so much to her as we
think of her innocent face peering through the red threads used
to create the cloth hung in the schoolhouse.
The story of the romance between
18-year-old Zhao Di (Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon plays the young Di) and Luo Changyu is the focus of the
movie. They are perhaps in love from the moment their eyes meet.
In a world of arranged marriages, this freedom to love is
unique. Di has her heart set on Luo from the minute she sees
him. She pursues him like an shy animal hunting in the forest.
She views him from afar and slowly works her way into his heart.
Her pink coat floating between golden leaves as she runs, her
anxious heart captured by her gaze.
Each day as the school is built,
she brings a dish for him and hopes that he will taste something
she has cooked for him. Then as he teaches, she can’t resist
the sound of his voice. She has to be near him.
When he has to leave to be
questioned for political reasons, she has just made mushroom
dumplings and so wants him to taste them. While the story is
simple, the emotions are complex. You know what the characters
are thinking even before they have spoken. You feel their
hearts, imagine it is your breath seeping into the cold air like
steam or your hands making the mushroom dumplings.
Your heart runs with her to find
Luo. And then you cry when the bowl breaks because you feel the
intense longing Di feels. You live this story with her, you see
love through her eyes, you know she would walk barefoot in the
snow if she could just find Luo.
As she waits for Luo to return, we
know she is completely in love. She tells him she will wait for
him and he promises to return on the 27th. When he fails to
return, Di feels she has lost everything unless she goes to find
the man she loves.
You will want to cry because this
movie is so incredibly beautiful. It is beautiful in its
simplicity. Director Zhang Yimou has made one of the most
beautiful movies you will ever see. The music by Bao San fills
any space you would possible have to draw a breath and escape
from being absolutely captured by every scene.
I will gladly read subtitles for a
movie this exquisite. This is perhaps the only perfect movie
ever made. If you only saw one movie in your life, this should
be it. I feel I can hardly describe this movie to you. There are
hardly words to tell you how this movie absolutely enchanted me.
100 stars would not be enough.
Like fresh water drawn from the
depths of a well, this movie is all consuming in how it
refreshes your spirit. It is a drink from the clearest mountain
stream. It is pure in its deepest emotions of hope and longing
and rich beyond material possessions in the beauty of love.
This movie sets your senses on
fire. You hear the crispest of sounds, the “splosh” of water
as it is poured back into the well, fresh snow crunching
underfoot and the sizzle of food in a wok set over a fire. Your
vision is in complete bliss as an aesthetic awareness of nature
swirls around you in pictures and sounds in a rural Chinese
Completely Charming in every way.
~The Rebecca Review