9 out of 10


Heartbreaking Story Of A Violin Protege

Although the film is in Chinese with English subtitles, the plot is sufficiently compelling that you read the subtitles and believe that the film is in English! A production crew so large as might bankrupt Hollywood, ensures the superb quality of this movie, without any need for special effects.

Single parent father, Liu Cheng (played by Liu Peiqi) in poor rural China, travels with his only son, Xiaochun (played by Tang Yun) to the capital city, Beijing to help his boy make his future as a classical violin musician. Despite being rejected out of hand as rural yokels, the persistently determined father wins a violin audition and makes sacrifices to finance professional music lessons.

The plot thickens in a triangle as Xiaochun becomes involved with Lily (played by Chen Hong, the wife of the film`s Director!), a beautiful woman of low reputation, for whom he pawns his antique violin, his only possession and keepsake from his dead mother, in order to buy her a fur coat. Meanwhile, in a further twist, the music Professor is fired and another hired.

Xiaochun plays with depth from his heart and moves in with the new Professor`s family, consisting of husband and wife, plus a young violin protege, who no longer has a sure thing. Rivalry and competition as to whom will perform in an international competition escalates, and the snobbish girl uses Xiaochun`s poor family background to undermine him in contrast to low life Lily who tries to repair the damage their relationship have done to his music career.

The powerful and unexpected ending utilizes the superb blending of vintage black & white film footage with colour. The melodramatic end, "how it`s supposed to be", links the story`s middle and end with the beginning. The film`s depth of issues in life: discovering your identity, redemption and poor versus rich, make this an excellent "exportable" foreign film.

A Real Winner! Well Done And Worth Watching

Film Critic: Paul Wieler