CINEMA: A Masterwork Suppressed

A bold and poignant Chinese film is banned in its homeland

WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO good people: this is a dominant theme of literature and drama through the ages, from the Book of Job to Dostoyevsky novels to most soap operas and TV movies. It is also the story line of the Chinese film The Blue Kite -- and the story behind the suppression of this bold, masterly work.

Tian Zhuangzhuang's film opens in 1953, with the marriage of lovely Chen Shujuan (Lu Liping), a schoolteacher, and gentle Lin Shaolong (Pu Quanxin), a librarian. The two believe they have much to celebrate: their warm love, to be sure, but also the...

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