To Live

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by solkowski5177568aa49a38714
Last updated 6 years ago

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To Live

To Live:China in the 1900's

Xu Fugui begins the movie as a wealthy man, but he has a terrible addiction: gambling. After losing many games, Fugui loses his house and all his money. His wife, depressed, leaves with their daughter and unborn son. Fugui is then drafted for the communist war and comes back years later to his family. Jiazhen delivers water for a living as they reside in her late mother's house. The story continues as the children grow. The movie ends with Fugui and Jiazhen alone...

To Live showed the life of a peasant family in communist China under Mao. One revelation of Fugui is that rich people (at this time) were not viewed with respect and many were criticized. Landowners had to share their land, if they didn't, they were shot. Otherwise, they were simply publically shamed. Many committed suicide. If Fugui wouldn't have lost all his money, he would have been killed.

Another trial of life Fugui faces is fighting in the Chinese army in hopes of being viewed as a good citizen. While fighting, the Communists keep him as a prisoner of war. The only way he lived through that experience was his family's set of puppets. After he lost his job, Fugui would put on shows. He was very proud of his puppets.

On a lighter note, the city official would assign everyone jobs to do (none of which made a lot of money). Jiazhen and her family were assigned to deliver water in the morning. Youquing worked in a factory, but this unfortunately ended with his death. Jiazhen complains that they never got a good night sleep.

When Mao took power, he created the little red book--which everyone had to carry. In Fengxia's engagement pictures, he and her family are behind a picture of Mao, holding up their little red books.

Cultural Elements


Plot Summary



Dad: Xu Fugui Mom: JiazhenDaughter: FengxiaSon: Youqing

I recommend this movie for students in high school and any person over this age. The plot is extremely depressing and there are some graphic moments. Overall, the movie was very good and really showed a typical Chinese peasant family living during Mao's time.

Released: May 18, 1994Director: Zhang Yimou Based on the Novel by: Yu Hua


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