In this 2002 coming-of-age melodrama from Chen Kaige (Yellow Earth, Farewell My Concubine) a gifted 13-year-old violinist (amateur actor and skilled musician Tang Yun) and his doting father (Liu Peiqi) leave the province for Beijing so the prodigy can advance his studies. Rejected as an outsider by a prestigious conservatory, the boy takes lessons from a poor but idealistic teacher; then at the urging of the father he switches to a star-making mentor (Chen). Sentimental and moralistic, the film pits traditional virtues (hard work for art's sake, family values) against Western commercialism (which has corrupted the star maker and a prostitute the kid befriends). Chen tries to generate some suspense, but there's never any doubt which side has to win. In Mandarin with subtitles. PG, 116 min.
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