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The Road Home [DVD] [2001]

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Product details

  • Actors: Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hao Zheng, Yulian Zhao, Bin Li
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Writers: Shi Bao
  • Producers: Weiping Zhang, Yu Zhao
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: French, German
  • Subtitles: English, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hindi, Hebrew, Dutch, Bulgarian, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Arabic
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 16 April 2001
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005B1N8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,831 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

From the award-winning director of such acclaimed films as Raise the Red Lantern and Ju Dou comes aromantic drama whose story is as beautiful as the cinematography. THE ROAD HOME will take you on anunforgettable journey filled with romance, culture and tradition. When his father dies, Luo Yushengreturns from the city to his childhood village where his father was the much-revered local teacher.But what begins as a short trip to bury his father becomes much more when he learns his mother wants a traditional burial for her beloved husband. She wants to have him carried by foot, honoring the belief that a body returned this way will never forget the road home. As Yusheng enlists the men needed to fulfill her wishes, the story of his parents' love affair unfolds. In the days of arranged marriages, he learns theirs was the first based on love.


The latest film by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, The Road Home (1999) is a story of past and present. In black and white we see a young businessman return to a rural village where his father has died. His mother wants a traditional funeral, which involves carrying the coffin several miles in the depths of winter. Then, in flashback and brilliant colour, we are told the story of his parents' courtship. His father had come as the local schoolteacher and had fallen in love with his mother, a local girl. Political complications ensue and they are separated for two years, but at last reunited. This apparently simply tale is told with great insight and dazzlingly beautiful camerawork, in a style which echoes the Italian neo-realist films of the 1940s. Perhaps it doesn't have the complexity of the director's earlier film, Raise the Red Lantern (1991), which starred the luminous Gong Li, but The Road Home has her match in Zhang Ziyi, who also starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).

On the DVD: The quality of the sound and picture (in 2.35:1 ratio) are excellent. There are no additional features except for subtitles in English and 15 other languages. --Ed Buscombe

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Dinky VINE VOICE on 21 Feb. 2007
Format: DVD
An old village teacher gets caught in a snowstorm while trying to raise funds for a new schoolhouse and dies of heart failure. His grown son comes home from the city to village elders hoping he'll convince his grieving mother to accept a truck or a tractor to transport the corpse back to the village for burial. His mother insists that his friends from the village should carry the coffin on "the road home" in accordance with ancient customs. The village elders and the son all agree that this is unreasonable but make allowances for an old woman in her grief while trying to think of ways to change her mind. But the son gradually comes around to his mother's way of thinking, coming up with a little practical compromise -- he will pay for people to carry his father home in place of the village's young who have all left -- and then finds himself surprised by the turnout as his father makes his last journey home.

The film begins in the present in black and white, enhancing the wintry conditions and the bare poverty of his mother's home and of the village as well as the widow's grief. But as his memory returns to the past, his parents' love story comes to life in gorgeous colour. This transition is not unknown in film (see "Bonjour Tristesse") but its use here is especially effective: the meadows and the trees, the hills, the narrow dirt road, the simple structures, the rustic clothes bloom on the screen in all their hues. The girl's mother lacking sight is almost an irony in all the vivid colour of the past, but you realize that she is no less attuned to her daughter and the goings-on around her. The blacks and whites especially suit the starkness of the village and the snow-covered road in winter and emphasize the cold, bare rooms of the old family home and the old woman's pain.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Dorie on 27 Mar. 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a simple plot well rendered. "The Road Home" consists of a frame story, filmed in black and white, and an embedded story (a story within the story), filmed in vivid colour. It is a love story between an illiterate young woman and a village teacher, set in a superbly filmed background - it really makes you want to travel to China. It is a story of great love and rare devotion of a woman to a man. Though only a simple village girl, the heroine achieves her goal through sheer dedication and perseverance. Despite the straightforward plot line, the film is full of symbols, such as a food bowl, a hair pin, a grandmother who wept when her husband died until she became blind, and the road home itself. I found the many references to popular Chinese beliefs and superstitions fascinating, I've learnt a few things about Chinese culture, and I was left with a desire to explore more about it. The film also has a political dimension, not letting us forget that the love story is set in the years of the Cultural Revolution in China, and as a result we get a poignant reminder of how political issues can interefere with normal everyday life.
The cinematography is superb - the fields, the heroine's clothes, the food, the bowl, are filmed in vibrant, eye-pleasing colours, and enchant the eye.
This film is a gem, and I wholeheartedly recommend it!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. K. J. Mckenna on 21 Nov. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful film, full of charm, innocence, love and respect. Opening in black & white, it tells the story of a teacher coming to rural China during the Cultural Revolution to work in the village school. An illiterate peasant girl (Zhang Ziyi) falls for the teacher, the excellent Zheng Hao, and their courtship forms the bulk of the film. It is a love story that captivates from start to finish. 'The Road Home' of the title is the funeral path that must be walked so the spirit of the dead person (the village schoolmaster at the end of his life) can find its way home.
I have seen Zhang Ziyi in many films and not paid too much attention to her but she is outstanding here. This is a simple, beautiful film, told with charm and love. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew J. Gibbs-ripley on 18 Jan. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have never liked a romance in my life, certainly in Western cinema at least. I bought this on the basis it had outstanding reviews on amazon, and I was completely blown away by this film. There were no complications, no sneaky plot twists or over-dramatised, over-emotional scenes like you may get in some western romances, just a simple, poignant reminder of the simple things that make life worth living: love, loyalty and respect for one another. You feel every tiny change in emotion with Di, the main character, played outstandingly by Zhang Ziyi, which makes this film touvh the heart like no other. This is the sort of unique experience that warms the heart and entertains again and again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andreas Gregoriades on 3 Sept. 2006
Format: DVD
This a tribute to pure, honest, life lasting love but at the same time it is a tribune to the liberation of women from the customs of a society that predetermined their entire life and behavior.

There is something beautiful in every aspect of this film, something that we enjoy and something that we can share with the heroes of this story either this is happiness or sadness.

And yet, one thing stands above all.

The fact that this film can be considered as a an eulogy and tribute to the teachers the world round.

This is where one can see the difference of the teaching as a profession and as a rite, a service to community.

This film says the story of those brave teachers who were ready to dedicate their entire life in order to give to the deprived children of the countryside the basics of education.

My parents were teachers too and in the 30s when they started teaching they too had to accept as part of their salary a daily contribution from the villagers in the form of foodstuff.

I thought of it as degrading and when I saw the same story, told in this film I realized that there were no budgets for education during those years and there was a different approach to contribution either for the survival of the teachers or for building a school etc.

This beautiful story is told in a perfect way through the brilliant directing of Zhang Yimou and the acting of Zhang Ziyi and Zheng Hao

But the one who must be awarded with our respect and admiration is the director of photography Hou Yong who captures light and details in both colour and black/white in such an intensive way.
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