24 September 2005 | grantsman
many-layered film reminiscent of Tous les Matins du Monde
This is a wonderful film. On the surface it's about a musically gifted 13 year old boy from the country going with his father to seek fame and fortune. Underneath, it's about hundreds of things. Just like Tous les Matins du Monde it's about music but also about how people lose the love of music through the events that befall them. What I notice about "Together" (He ni zai yi qi) is the theme of ownership -- how it eludes those who seek it in music. The acclaimed music teacher, Professor Yu, reminisces in class on how much he loved music, how his love of Vivaldi flourished during the Cultural Revolution despite the threat he was under. But now at the height of his fame he does not enjoy music any more; he only enjoys power. The boy's other music teacher has lost his love of music by becoming dispirited and his life has become decrepit. But the film has many other themes. It could be about the inarticulacy of adolescence, especially one burdened with impossibly difficult feelings. It could also be an allegory about China. I watched it as "Together" with English subtitles, but one sensed that in Chinese it had other layers of meaning -- the notion of the scholar as venerated in Chinese society, for instance. There are some things not quite realized and the ending is soft-centered, but the acting by the son and especially his father is gripping. It's a film that would repay repeated viewings.