This lusciously photographed, sentimental film about growing pains and father, mentor and son relationships, by Director Chen Kaige (Temptress Moon
and The Emperor and the Assassin
) is sugary but quite satisfying. A provincial cook (Liu Peiqi) decides his son, a 13-year-old violin prodigy (Tang Yun), should audition for a prestigious music school in Beijing. The father hides his savings in his red peasant’s hat, and they set off for the big city and numerous personal and professional challenges. This allegorical story talks of family commitment, pride, missed opportunity, self-sacrifice and the power of music, as old and new attitudes and values clash.