Tuesday, April 01, 2008

LLGFF: The Chinese Botanist's Daughter

dir Dai Sijie

I don't usually cry at the cinema but the last five minutes of this lush drama had me blubbing. Based on a true story, this beautifully shot and acted tale of two young women falling in love and being thwarted by familial and societal pressures was banned from the director's home country of China because of its subject matter. Tibet is not the only forbidden topic there.

With production moved to Vietnam, the film makes use of the country's abundant greenery and water for its botanical garden setting. Sometime during the Cultual Revolution, a young woman, Li Ming, arrives on an island to take up an internship with the imperious Professor Chen. Striking up a friendship with his daughter An, Li Ming finds herself falling in love.

Wandering the valleys in search of plants, the two dream of a life together, But can they leave the garden? A marriage between Li Ming and An's soldier brother Tan seems to offer a solution but fate intervenes and the barbarism of ignorance is their undoing. A very powerful piece of work.

No comments: