- 1 hr 59 min
Together, released in 2002, is a Chinese drama film directed by Chen Kaige. The movie takes us through the story of a young violin prodigy, Xiaochun, who comes to Beijing with his father to pursue a better education in music. They move into an old, crowded apartment building that houses other musicians as well. Along the way, Xiaochun forms a close friendship with the talented, yet insecure and rebellious, Lili, who is an extremely gifted pianist determined to make a name for herself. The sweet friendship between the two children forms the crux of this inspiring and uplifting tale.
The film features standout performances from all of its lead actors, particularly the two young children. Yun Tang, who plays Xiaochun, brings a certain innocence and purity to the character that is very endearing. He is a gifted musician, but his passion for the violin is not born out of a desire for fame or fortune. Instead, it is a true love and appreciation for the beauty of music. Peiqi Liu, on the other hand, gives a mesmerizing performance as Lili, the intelligent and virtuosic pianist. She is a challenging and unconventional character, and Liu brings a vulnerability to her that makes the audience empathize with her struggles.
Throughout the film, the themes of poverty and determination are explored. The story revolves around the idea that great talent isn't always enough to succeed, and that hard work and perseverance are necessary for true greatness. This message is conveyed through the numerous struggles faced by the protagonists. For instance, at the beginning of the film, Xiaochun has to make do with a sub-par violin and an unqualified teacher, yet he still manages to excel with his hard work and diligence. Similarly, Lili has to grapple with her own self-doubt on top of the financial struggles of her family.
The setting of the movie is also worth mentioning. The apartment building that serves as a home for the characters in Together is a microcosm of the struggles and aspirations of young people in China. The cramped and dingy lodgings represent the reality of living in poverty, but they are also a testament to the dreams of young people aiming to make something of themselves. The shooting of the film, done with a combination of hand-held cameras and beautiful wide shots, further enhances the picture's visceral appeal.
Music also plays a major role in the film. Some of the scenes are almost entirely driven by the score, and it's clear that music is more than just a theme of the movie- it's a character of its own. The beautiful violin and piano performances throughout the movie add depth to the character development, reflecting the emotions of the protagonists and setting a mood for the audience.
Ultimately, Together is an inspiring and moving film about ambition, talent, and the beauty of music. It is a human story about the struggles of young people who want to do more, see more, and be more, despite the odds that are stacked against them. The plot may be simple, but the characters are so well fleshed out and endearing that you'll be fully invested in their journey from start to finish. The success of the movie can also be attributed to the outstanding direction of Chen Kaige, who manages to bring out the innocence and purity of children's emotions in a way no one else can.
Overall, Together is a testament to the power of the human spirit and a reminder that nothing is impossible if you're willing to work hard and overcome the odds. It's a must-watch movie for music lovers and those in search of an empowering story with beautifully rich characters.