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THE ROAD HOME

Starring: Zhang Ziyi, Sun Honglei
Director: Zhang Yimou
Rated: PG

THE Road Home won the Silver Bear at Berlin and a host of other prizes including the Ecumenical Jury Prize, on which the Catholic Church has four jurors.

The film is set in the middle of a fierce winter. Luo Yusheng’s (Sun Honglei) father has died and he returns to his village for the funeral. His mother insists her husband must be taken on the road home for his burial. Luo’s father has been the village teacher for 40 years.

The procession to the village from the city morgue means a full day walking in the snow. This request, and the response of the village, makes Luo reflect on the loving relationship his parents have had for over 40 years and his father’s life of service.

The Road Home is a gentle and warm film. On its own, Hou Yong’s stunning cinematography is worth the price of admission. The musical score is masterful. The acting is unaffected and deeply moving.

This film is a case study on the fourth commandment. It also shows the power of ritual and symbols in death, ones we know well from the Rite of Christian Burial – the pall, processions, using symbols of the person’s life and the significance of a meal.

If you only see one foreign language film this year make sure it is The Road Home.

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