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Year: 1999
USA & UK: Sony Picture Classics
Cast: Ziyi Zhang, Sun Honglei, Zheng Hao, Zhao Yuelin, Li Bin, Chang Guifa, Sung Wencheng, Liu Qi, Ji Bo, Zhang Zhongxi
Director: Zhang Yimou
Country: China
Language: Mandarin (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 89 mins
USA Rated: G
UK Certificate: U
USA Release Date: 25 May 2001 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 13 October 2000


City businessman Luo Yusheng returns to his home village in North China for the funeral of his father, the village teacher. He finds his elderly mother insisting that all traditional burial customs be observed, despite that fact that times have changed so much. Observing his mother's intransigence, Yusheng thinks back over the stories he heard as a boy about his parents' courtship. His father, Luo Changyu, came to the village as the new teacher and soon fell in love with Zhao Di, considered the prettiest of local girls. But their developing romance was curtailed when Changyu was ordered back to the city for obscure political "mistakes", and the would-be lovers were kept apart for more than two years.When finally reunited, they married and never separated again.

Yusheng realizes that his mother's wishes for the funeral must be respected, and so he provides money to hire men to carry his father's coffin the many miles from the hospital to its final resting place in the village. On the day of the funeral, though, more than one hundred of Changyu's former pupils turn up to carry the coffin - and none of them will accept payment. Before returning to the city, Yusheng symbolically honors his father's dearest wish: he spends one day teaching in the village school.

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