Films from the Cultural Revolution: Roaring Across the Horizon/Rhapsody of Spring [2 Discs] [DVD]

Generally cited as a movement that began in 1966 and lasted until 1976, and spearheaded by the eminent Mao Zedong, the Cultural Revolution of China functioned as a governmental attempt to violently purge all capitalist thought from the country, and thus restore it to a more Marxist-Leninist paradigm. Accompanying this was a renaissance that impacted all aspects of contemporary Chinese life and society. Although this two-film set is entitled, "Films from the Cultural Revolution," the two motion pictures that are featured here actually reflect on events within the framework of the said Revolution, in lieu of being made during that period. The first, director Teng Wenji's 1998 Rhapsody of Spring, dramatizes the life story of one of China's most historically vital composers (named Zhao Liming in the film but historically based on Shi Guangnan), conveying his experiences during and immediately following the youth-led cultural upheaval of the title. Shao Bing stars in the title role. The second picture in the set, 2002's Roaring Across the Horizon (aka Heng Kong Chu Shi) - from director Chen Guoxing - revisits China's still-controversial nuclear arms race during the 1950s and 1960s, keeping an eye on the country's attitude toward external global influences. The story itself intertwines the lives of two individuals: General Feng Shi (Li Xuejian), a man assigned to find an appropriate testing site, and Lu Guangda (Li Youbin), a physicist put in charge of developing a nuclear bomb. The latter experiences a difficult separation from his wife, and in the wake of that, the two men forge a unique friendship. The movie rests on the thesis that China wouldn't have launched a nuclear program without the strong anti-Communist stance by America and other western nations.
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Rhapsody of Spring
Composer Zhao Liming has found himself at a juncture of juxtapositions during China's cultural revolution. Torn between his own dreams and his obligations to society, between the love and friendship he feels for the same girl, and between innovative music and traditional. He is determined, however, to create an opera that preserves the Chinese traditional Dogu song within the context of a Western style opera. At the brink of major changes, Zhao knows that he could lose everything if he fails. ~ Cammila Collar, Rovi

Roaring Across The Horizon
Coinciding nicely with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, director Chen Guoxing's Heng Kong Chu Shi ("Roaring Across the Horizon") chronicles China's entry into the nuclear arms race of the 1950s and '60s, and offers a nationalistic look at the attitude towards foreign influences. Heng Kong Chu Shi focuses on the stories of two individuals--Lu Guangda (Li Youbin), a physicist in charge of a group of scientists developing a nuclear bomb, and General Feng Shi (Li Xuejian), whose job is finding an appropriate nuclear testing site. While working on the bomb, Lu (Youbin) is forced to be separated from his wife, and eventually forms a unique relationship with Feng (Xuejian). The title itself comes from Chinese poet Mao Zedong), and the movie implies that China would not have started a nuclear program had they not been concerned about the anti-communist threat coming from America and other countries. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Shao Bing
    Shao Bing - Zhao Liming
  • Yuan Quan
    Yuan Quan - Zhou Xiaomei
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