Director Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern
) and screenwriter Bao Shi’s luminous, meditative drama about love in a land of arranged marriages, tradition, and respect for the dead begins as a city engineer (Sun Honglei) hears that his schoolteacher father has died. He returns to the village where he was born, finds that his mother (Zhao Yuelin) wants his father’s body carried on foot from a hospital morgue back to the village and contemplates his father’s death and burial. The film then flashes back to the courtship of his parents (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
’s Zhang Ziyi and Zheng Hao as the young couple) as black-and-white bookends and the color center section of the film fills with striking Cinemascope images of the Chinese countryside.