CINEMA: Red Plague

China's premier director challenges the censors again

How severe may the punishment be for the crime of being a rich wastrel in a poor land? If the land is China in the first three decades of Mao's reign, the sentence is severe. To Live, the new film from Zhang Yimou, China's top director, is a visually ravishing, emotionally relentless catalog of the indignations visited on a family that had the bad luck to have it good before the revolution.

It is 1947. A rich merchant's son named Fuqui (played by Ge You, who won the best-actor prize at the Cannes festival this year) waters the local casino tables...

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