To Live has been a phenomenal movie, and has really helped clarify a few critical pieces in terms of understanding the entire “Mao movement”. However, despite having a great entertainment value, the story was a portrayal of a family’s struggle during the period in which Mao Zedong took reign. Overall, I will give the movie/portrayal a 3 out of 5. Although it displayed grief and a few hardships that came along during that time period, the director focused more on the family and their struggle, rather than the Mao reign itself. Also, there seemed to be a few mistakes, and many contradictions in the movie. The one that seemed to stick out is how Chunsheng repeatedly offered Fugui and his family money, but in a communist country, there are no social classes which would make Fugui and Chunsheng equal. Either Mao did give the cadres money to make them rich, or that was a small flaw within the movie.
The director’s transition from the originally feudalist country to now Communism is stellar, and is demonstrative of the entire changes that everyone had to go to, and did so by showing Fugui coming back to a totally different society after the war. However, I still stand by my opinion, and I feel that this movie did not clarify any of Mao’s programs, and it was extremely difficult to pick specific details from certain parts of the movie. Although the movie itself is well crafted, I was disappointed and thought the movie would have more of a comprehensive value for students. In conclusion, I believe TO LIVE is a great movie to put the time period in a more contemporary translation, and is a great learning tool for the class, but I feel like the information provided was lackluster, and was really confusing to follow along with Mao’s programs, and the timing.