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Emotional Journeys of the Heart on a very special Train

  • Dec 12, 2004
  • by
ZHOU YU'S TRAIN is another beautiful film from China, refreshingly romantic and intimate film giving us a break from the constant onslaught of the Chinese martial arts films that have so deeply influenced the movie market around the world. As directed by Zhou Sun this low-key tale concerns changes in the lives of three rather simple citizens of Northern China. The simplicity is gratifyingly successful.

Zhou Yu (played with exquisite subtlety by the magnificent Gong Li) is a working girl who is carrying on the family tradition of painting porcelain for exporters. Unassuming, she meets Chen Ching (Tony Leung) who is a poet afraid of his talent and self-deprecating to a fault. Zhou Yu hears the beauty in his work and falls in love with both the poetry and the poet. Chen Ching lives out in the country and Zhou Yu must take a train to enjoy her very frequent trysts.

Fate intervenes and on one of these train trips she encounters Zhang Qiang (Hanglei Sun), and affable handsome young Veterinarian who at first pursues her for her 'art' and is rebuffed by Zhou Yu, but the mustual initial physical attraction is undeniable. In time Zhou Yu seeks out the rather secretive Zhang Qiang in his country setting and the two begin a lusty affair. Zhou Yu is torn between the poet and the doctor. How the ultimate love triangle is resolved speaks to the age old questions of passion, art vs. science, and equivocation of the entangled heart.

The scenery of China is beautifully captured and the camera says much about the current social levels of living in China. The music is strangely completely Western when a bit of the old China music seems to be more appropriate to such an intimate tale.

But it is the luminous, multifaceted performances by Gong Li especially and Tony Leung and Hanglei Sun that bring a rich credibility to this small tale. Highly recommended. Grad Harp December 2004

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More Zhou Yu's Train (2004) reviews
review by . July 02, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Zhou Yu's Train is certainly one of those films that some may not like the first time around. If you read up on it on some websites, they'll even tell you that you might miss a few things. I believe in this also but this movie for me gradually turned into one of my favorite movies.     The story is set in China and based on Zhou Yu who is played by the beautiful Gong Li and her travels to and from her boyfriends home. Of course, she travels by train and this allows everything …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Every so often, the convoluted love storyZhou Yu's Trainseems to stop in its tracks and succumb to rapture, gazing on the disarmingly beautiful face of actress Gong Li. A young painter named Zhou Yu (Gong Li,Raise the Red Lantern,Shanghai Triad) falls headlong in love with a painfully shy poet, Chen Ching (Tony Leung Ka-Fai,The Lover). Twice a week she takes the train to his town to be with him, even though he's bewildered by her near-obsessive passion. On the train, a wise-cracking veterinarian (Sun Honglei) pursues Zhou Yu, but she resists his emotional directness.Zhou Yu's Trainbounces back and forth, not only between these two romances but also in time, to confusing effect. But there's something compelling about Zhou Yu's need to love the version of her lover that she holds in her mind, and that sustains the movie through its muddled moments.--Bret Fetzer
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DVD Release Date: November 23, 2004
Runtime: 97 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures

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