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Life on a String

DIRECTED BY - Chen Kaige

Chen Kaige's LIFE ON A STRING, based on a story by Tiesheng Shi, tells the tale of an old blind musician who, when he was a young boy, was told that he would be cured of his affliction after he broke 1000 strings on his instrument. The old master (Liu Zhongyuan) has become a grizzled, saintly figure in pursuit of his goal of sight. His student, Shitou (Huang Lei)--also blind--wants a different sort of life from his ascetic master, desiring romance, and when he meets and falls in love with a young villager (Xu Qing), he goes against his master's wishes to be with her. As the elderly musician approaches the time when he will break the fateful string--as well as his own death--he is forced to question his faith and his many philosophical differences with his youthful apprentice. As in Kaige's earlier film YELLOW EARTH, LIFE ON A STRING is saturated with wondrous folk music from Chinese composer Xiao-Song Qu. Thoughtful and lyrical in its portrayal of inner vision and spiritual faith, Kaige's deceptively simple fable is a mysterious and beautifully shot meditation on the thin, fraying strings separating vision from blindness, music from silence, and life from whatever comes next.

GENRES - drama