Monday, March 30, 2009

World Movie Series - 9 - Together

Who helps most when it comes to nurturing and developing a child’s talents? It’s the parents. Especially, in some cases, the father. Whenever the child displays the special talent it has, the parents are so happy, and they strive hard to fulfill the child’s dreams. The untold sacrifices they make towards their child’s well being will melt even an iron heart, if told. Just think about your childhood, and the many facetted stories about the parent’s love towards the child will unfold. A child can never forget the sacrifices the parents made.

Together is one such moving story of a father, who wants his son to become a violin maestro.

The film begins in a beautiful village in China, where we see a young boy Liu Xiaochun, aged 13, with a barber. The entire village is built on a river, where houses are erected on long poles. Once the haircut is over, a man tells Liu his father calls him. Liu runs towards his father’s workplace, and all the way, the stunning riverside houses and the river itself, are portrayed splendidly. The father Liu Cheng is a widowed cook. We learn that the boy is a prodigy in violin, and has won many prizes over the years. The father tells his son that he has been selected for a musical competition in Beijing, and they both start for the city.

In the city, while Cheng goes for a leak, a girl asks Xiaochun to fetch her luggage, and she rewards Xiaochun with some money. The competition begins, and while Xiaochun plays on the stage, we see Liu Cheng's love and the pride towards his son when he happily proclaims to the man sitting next to him that it’s his son who’s playing on the stage. The competition ends, and by buying–off the organizers, someone else is declared as the winner, and Xiaochun finishes fifth. The father overhears two people talking about this, and he realizes one of them as Professor Jiang, an obstinate teacher from the music school which organizedthe competition.

Liu Cheng goes to the house of the teacher and he pleads the teacher to take in his child as a pupil. The teacher advises Cheng to go back to the village, as they are innocent and can’t adjust themselves to the cunning world around them. But, subsequently agrees to take Xiaochun. Both the father and son settle in a small house in Beijing. Liu Cheng joins as a cook in a tiny hotel.

Xiaochun happens to meet the girl, who asked him to carry her luggage, near his house, and comes to know that she too lives nearby. She asks Xiaochun to come to her house and play violin, as she has seen him practice. He goes, plays violin and they both develop a friendship. The girl is called Lily, and makes her living from dating rich men.

Once, when Liu Cheng goes to deliver food, he happens to get a sneak peek of a function to felicitate a musical genius, Professor Yu Shifeng, a very popular person. Immediately, Liu Cheng decides to bring his son to him, as, under this professor, his son has a great chance of exhibiting his talent and earn fame. Liu Cheng goes to professor Yu and reveals everything about the boy. We learn that Liu Cheng found the boy in a railway station as a child, with a violin next to him. From then on, he has not married, and has vowed himself to bring up the boy as a talented kid. He tells the professor that it was his duty to raise the kid and to make him a musical genius. The professor is impassive even after hearing the story, and a sad Liu Cheng returns home.

Meanwhile, Lily takes the boy to shopping, and she sees a beautiful dress. But, since she doesn’t have money, she leaves it at the shop. When Xiaochun comes to know about his father deciding to switch his teachers, he becomes angry, as he has developed an affection towards his old teacher. So, he sells his violin and he buys the dress, places it at Lily’s home. Lily mistakenly thinks it as a gift from her date, whom she saw lingering with another woman, and whom she dumped soon after.

Liu Cheng takes Xiaochun to the new professor’s home, asks him to play his violin, and when he opens the case, finds it empty. He becomes angry, and the boy tells that he doesn’t want to play. Back in home, Liu Cheng learns everything and goes to Lily’s house and tells her the entire story. Lily becomes emotional about the boy’s sacrifice and goes to the Professor Yu and begs him to take the student as a pupil. This time, the professor accepts to take Xiaochun.

Another international competition is up in the air, and the professor, dumbfolded by the boy’s talent, decides to send him for the competition. There is yet another girl who’s been trained by the professor for the same event, and since the professor chose Xiaochun, she becomes angry and envies him. She reveals to Xiaochun that the professor has bought back the boy’s violin, and is planning to present it to the boy after he wins the tournament. She also tells him that she has dreams too and that the professor didn’t understand her dreams.

Back at home, Liu Cheng decides to leave Beijing, as he feels that he will be a hindrance to the boy’s career. He tells the professor that he will leave Beijing the night of the competition, and packs his bags. He tells Lily to take care of the boy, and leaves to the railway station.

An emotional Xiaochun, after picking up his old Violin, runs away to the station to meet his father. When the professor comes to pick Xiaochun up for the event, he finds the girl there, waiting ready with her violin. Xiaochun is missing.

At the railway station, the boy starts to play the same music which he practiced for the competition, and the father comes to the boy slowly. They both stand united there, and it becomes obvious that the boy has chosen his father, against the fame. He finally has decided to be together with his loving father.

Together is a nice musical, combined with a moving story. The final scene, when the boy is running in the station, searching his father, has beautifully been edited with the black and white scenes of the father finding the child in the station, and searching the child’s parents in the station. It has many more good scenes, like the one when the boy slowly develops affection towards his old musical teacher, the scene when Lily understands the boy’s affection towards her when she comes to know about the boy selling his violin to buy her a dress and the poor father who wants to help the boy by leaving the town, wanting to raise more money in the village.

Directed by Chen Kaige, this mandarin movie was released in 2002. The movie won many awards in international film festivals, and is a touching tale about a father, sacrificing everything for his child’s dreams. ‘Together’ stands as a tribute and a dedication for all those parents who love their children and have made sacrifices for the well being of their children.


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