Film Review Coming Home (2014)
FilmReview: Coming Home (2014)
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FilmReview: Coming Home (2014)
Historically,manycivilizations haveimpacted people differently in respect to economic, political andsocial dimensions. One such is civilization is Maoism and Communismthat was enforced in Chinain the period between 1966 and 1976, based on philosophies of MaoZedong, the leader of Chinese Communist Party1.Mao Zedong’s driving ideology focused on eliminating all thetraditional and capitalist systems in China,and instead introduce communism2. Consequently, thismarked the Cultural evolution in the country that had tremendousnegative impacts to every facet of life. The movie “Coming Home”(2014) directed by Zhang Yimou perfectly captures this historicaltransition and its effectsin a sad story of Lu Yash, whose life and family arecompletelydestroyedby the cruelregime of Mao Zedong. Inthis movie, the depiction of familyand the urbanneighborhood isdevelopedthrough a series of events revealing family disconnection, personalselfishness, and social disruption as influenced by Mao Zedong’scruel leadership.
Inthis movie, Lu Yash is a professor married to Feng Wanyu who is ateacherin a provincial school in the early1970s. Due to cultural evolution in the country and differences between LuYash’s ideologies and government’s policies, he becomes apolitical prisoner in a camp away from home3.He managed to escape the camp and head home to his family,but his presence seemed disruptive to the interests of Dan Dan, histeenage daughter. Dan Dan wants to participate in a play in town thatsupports Maoism and realization that his father will oppose, shenotifiesthe authority that comesand arrestshim. Three years later, Mao Zedong isdefeatedout of power,and Lu Yash isreleasedamong other political prisoners. He is confused between forgiving heroutcasteddaughter and rehabilitating his sick wife who cannot remember him asa husband but a professor.
Duringthe period of Cultural Revolution, families werebroken,and members lived disconnected from each other due to persecution,imprisonment, and torture directed to those who opposed the Maoismpolicies4.Evidently, Lu Yash’s family isbroken,and members aredisconnectedfrom each other. Yash is imprisoned in a camp away from home whilehis wife issubjectedto hard labor and sexually harassed by the police5.Consequently, she is suffering from a chronic disease. Also, she iscompletely disconnected from her husband since she cannot rememberhim. Similarly, her daughter issexually torturedin the course of the movie6.Despite sustained harassment at the prison, Yash’s love for thefamily in the movie is endless as he strategically interacts with hiswife to help her regain her memories. Also, he is ready to forgivehis daughter for betrayal as he understands that the cause was herteenage stubbornness.
Thecruel political regime propagated selfishness, hatred, and coldrelatedness between family members, particularly in situations wherefamily members shared conflicting ideologies. As seen in the movie,Dan Dan selfishness as she wanted to participate in a play supportingMaoism prompted herto reveal her father’s return to the authority. It is clear,however, that a cold relationship between the parents may have causedher belief that his father will not allow her to participate.Besides, her mother chases her out of the house in the course of themovie, a clarification that a cold relationship of hatred, suspicion,and secrecy existed.
Finally,the political regime disrupted social structures, beliefs,and values as seen in massive harassment of people especially womenand girls, destruction of both religious and cultural sites, andremoval of historical artifacts7.These vices happened particularly in urban areas where the Maoism wassignificantly practiced.Moreover, people weredisplacedbyimprisonment and hard labor projects. These negativities are evidentin Yash’s imprisonmentand both his wife and daughter’s harassment in the movie.
Inconclusion, “Coming Home” is a movie that records both ahistorical community and family struggle in the verge of culturalevolution. Although this revolution had its benefits to China,its negativities are massive and unforgettable. Evidently, Chinesecitizens were tortured, humiliated in public, and migrated todifferent places to do hard labor. All this isseenin life and struggles of Yash and his family. In consequence, viewerscan understand the untold impacts of wars and bad governance.
DikôtterFrank, TheCultural Revolution: A People`s History(History Today, 2016) 66, no. 9: 10-19.
Zhang,Yimou, Zhao Zhang, Jingzhi Zou, Daoming Chen, Li Gong, Geling Yan,QigangChen, XiaodingZhao, and PeicongMeng.ComingHome.(Culver City, CA: Le Vision Pictures Co, 2016)
1 Dikôtter Frank, The Cultural Revolution: A People`s History (History Today, 2016) 66, no. 9: 10-19.
2 Frank, The Cultural Revolution, 11.
3 Zhang Yimou et al., Coming Home (Culver City, CA: Le Vision Pictures Co, 2016)
4 Frank, The Cultural Revolution, 13.
5 Zhang Yimou et al., Coming Home (Culver City, CA: Le Vision Pictures Co, 2016)
7 Frank, The Cultural Revolution, 16.
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