8.3/10
14,333
93 user 22 critic

To Live (1994)

Huo zhe (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 16 December 1994 (USA)
After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Director:

Yimou Zhang

Writers:

Wei Lu (screenplay), Hua Yu (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
You Ge ... Xu Fugui
Li Gong ... Xu Jiazhen
Ben Niu Ben Niu ... Town Chief
Wu Jiang ... Wan Erxi
Deng Fei Deng Fei ... Xu Youqing
Tao Guo ... Chunsheng
Tianchi Liu Tianchi Liu ... Xu Fengxia, as an adult
Zongluo Huang Zongluo Huang ... Fu Gui's Dad
Yanjin Liu Yanjin Liu ... Fu Gui's Mom
Dahong Ni ... Long'er
Lian-Yi Li Lian-Yi Li ... Sgt. Lao Quan
Cong Xiao Cong Xiao ... Xu Fengxia, as a teenager
Lu Zhang Lu Zhang ... Fengxia, as a child
Yan Su
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Storyline

Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry. Addicted to gambling, Fugui loses everything. In the years that follow he is pressed into both the nationalist and communist armies, while Jiazhen is forced into menial work. They raise a family and survive, managing "to live" from the 40's to the 70's in this epic, but personal, story of life through an amazing period. Written by docraven

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

16 December 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Live See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,332,728
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked number 41 non-English-speaking film in the critics' poll conducted by the BBC in 2018. See more »

Quotes

Xu Fugui: If Youqing does as daddy says, our lives will get better and better. Our family is like a little chicken. When it grows up, it becomes a goose and that will turn into a sheep. The sheep will turn into an ox.
Xu Youqing: And after the ox?
Xu Fugui: After the ox is Communism, and there will be dumplings and meat every day.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Turandot Project (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An emotional, rewarding experience
26 February 2005 | by silentcheesedudeSee all my reviews

It's a shame that not more people have seen this movie, judging by the amount of user comments and ratings. Now that director Yimou Zhang ('Hero' & 'House of Flying Daggers') has become more popular, I'm hoping this will change.

'Huozhe' or 'To Live' takes us on a trip in China that will last us from the 40's through the 70's. Through that time, we will see life through the eyes of Fugui and Jiazhen, a husband and wife with 2 children, as well as Fugui's mother.

Fugui, the husband, has a gambling problem which will set off a chain of events that will have them lose the house, and eventually separate the family. Jiazhen, his wife, is forced to take a job which will put a strain on her children. Communist and nationalist armies battle each other, and the rise of Chairman Mao will affect them as well. Fugui will go through layers of mishaps that will change him forever. I don't want to detail anything more about the plot, it's much more worth viewing it and experiencing it then anything I can ever say here.

Not once is this movie boring, effectively placing us there, with the family. The acting seems so natural that it feels like you are there, traveling with them, rather then viewing them through a camera. This of course shows the strength of Zhang's directing. You Ge plays Fugui, a popular actor in China, won the award for the Cannes Film Festival. Li Gong is beautiful, and portrays her character with such passion, it's no wonder she has been nominated nearly a dozen times, winning most.

Emotional without being sappy, honest, & historically accurate, the film does have a black shroud covering it. In times of sadness, it's lifted a bit to allow us to see happiness, indeed, life, pull this family together. It even has bits of humor in it, at times, I laughed along with the family as much as I felt their pain. Little details, such paintings in the background that chip away as time goes by, shows how much care went into making this film. Characters that seem unimportant become part of the story later.

What a wonderful film. When I saw it 10 years ago, it not only changed the way I saw foreign movies, it also changed the way I see life and people. Any movie that can do that is one I highly recommend to anyone.

A perfect 10 out of 10.


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