Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming) and Feng Wanyu (Gong Li) are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner, just as his wife is injured in an accident. Released during the last days of the Cultural Revolution, he finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife has amnesia and remembers little of her past. Unable to recognize Lu, she patiently waits for her husband’s return.
A stranger alone in the heart of his broken family, Lu Yanshi determines to resurrect their past together and reawaken his wife’s memory.
In 2014 Coming Home was an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. The film has been nominated for 30 awards and won 15, including 3 Best Actress awards for Gong Li.
Director Zhang Yimou
One of the most important and influential filmmakers in China, and a core member of China’s “Fifth Generation” directors, Zhang Yimou started his career as a cinematographer and became a director in 1987.
Over the years, Zhang has directed films which received accolades from around the world: RED SORGHUM (1987, Golden Bear winner at the Berlin International Film Festival), JU DOU (1990, In Competition at the
Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards®), RAISE THE RED LANTERN (1991, Silver Lion winner at the Venice International Film Festival and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards®), TO LIVE (1994, Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival), to name a few.
Based on Yan Geling’s novel, The Criminal Lu Yanshi, COMING HOME is a love story about joy and sadness, as well as separation and reunion. We used the end of the original story – with Lu Yanshi returning home – as the starting point of the script. Everyone knows that Chen Daoming and Gong Li are the finest actors working in China, and they were my first and only choices for their respective roles.
Having a so-called “rising star” in the daughter’s role was not a must as her character serves a very important function in the story. When I first met Huiwen, I noticed her bright shining eyes, which resembled the aura of young Red Guards. It was what I needed. For the second part of the film, I needed to change the way her eyes look. They should look as if they are in a trance, always hesitant. Huiwen had the ability to do that.
This type of film is very difficult to make. It needs to be made in a state of serenity. If I thought about benefits and profits even a little, then I would lose my way. That’s why, for me, this film represents a return to an earlier state of mind and an older approach to creativity. The most important thing for me is whether the audience will keep this film in their hearts and whether they will truly remember the emotions behind COMING HOME.
Chen Daoming (LU Yanshi)
Chen Daoming started his acting career in television in 1985 and has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed and respected actors in China. He won the Best Actor award at the Golden Rooster Awards for the 1999 film My 1919. International audiences know, Chen for his roles in Zhang Yimou’s HERO (2002), Andrew Lau/Alan Mak’s INFERNAL AFFAIRS III (2003), Feng Xiaogang’s AFTERSHOCK (2009) and BACK TO 1942 (2012)
Gong LI (Feng Wanyu)
One of China’s most celebrated actresses, Gong Li has been called the muse of Fifth Generation filmmakers. In 1987, she collaborated with director Zhang Yimou for the first time in RED SORGHUM (1987) and found success instantly. Her performances in award-winning films made her one of the top Chinese actresses in the world; she was the first Chinese star to grace the cover of Time Magazine. With RED SORGHUM, THE STORY OF QIU JU (1992) and FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE (1993), Gong Li remains the only Chinese actress to star in films that have won the top prize at all three of Europe’s most prestigious film festivals – Berlin, Venice and Cannes. She has also found success in Hollywood films such as MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (2005), MIAMI VICE (2006) and HANNIBAL RISING (2007), served as a jury member at all three festivals and is currently a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO.
Zhang Huiwen (Dan Dan)
A graduate of the Beijing Dance Academy, Zhang Huiwen made her film debut in Zhang Yimou’s COMING HOME. As the master filmmaker’s latest discovery, Zhang is currently under the spotlight in the Chinese media as a potential star actress.
Zhang Yimou said “young people born in the 1990s like Huiwen have no concept of what that period (depicted in COMING HOME) was like. All I could do was to tell them about it and let them slowly find their way. Huiwen is a very smart young girl, and she found her way very quickly.
For more information on Coming Home see http://www.mongrelmedia.com/film/coming-home.aspx