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Dai Sijie's autobiographical third feature (2002), adapted from his autobiographical first novel, is a visually assured reconstruction of memory and time. The story details the experiences of two friends, Luo and Ma, as they try to survive a Maoist reeducation camp in a remote mountain village during the Cultural Revolution. Outmaneuvering the party official who watches over them, they pursue the beautiful granddaughter of the village tailor, meeting with her secretly to read books by outlawed writers. In their most radical act, they persuade the villagers that the Mozart pieces Luo plays on his violin are songs about the revolution. The ethereal private moments and inspired passages are beautifully shot by Jean-Marie Dreujou, but Dai never quite organizes the material dramatically, and the tone is too often jagged and disruptive. In Cantonese with subtitles. 116 min.

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