Movie Recommendation- The Blue Kite

The word “brave” is thrown around a bit haphazardly when talking about films, usually when talking about an actress who has decided to appear without makeup or some such thing.  But if you’re a filmmaker living under a government notoriously unreceptive to criticism, making a film that does so is brave indeed.  Tian Zhuangzhuang did just that when he made 1993’s The Blue Kite and paid for it to the tune of being banned from making films for ten years (the film itself is banned in China to this day).  I don’t mean to cheapen his experience or be glib but at least he made a film that was worth ten years of punishment.  The story concerns a young boy growing up in China in the 1950’s and ‘60’s and the struggles he and his mother face in what should be the simple task of keeping a family together.  The boy goes through a series of father figures but each, in his turn, manages to run afoul of the Communist party and is unable to maintain his role in our main characters’ lives.  The Blue Kite is decidedly less than subtle in depicting how the party forced itself into the role of the head of every family but it’s so deeply felt and expressed by someone who actually experienced it, the film is heartbreaking in its very existence.  It’s an assertion of humanity in the face of those who aim to oppress it.

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