Under the Hawthorn Tree, directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, will be the inaugural film of the 16th International Film Festival of Kerala organised by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy. Set in the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution in China, the film tells a story of love and innocence.
Under the Hawthorn Tree is an adaptation of the 2007 novel Hawthorn Tree Forever, written by Ai Mi, which based on a true story. Zhang Jingqiu, daughter of a political prisoner, meets Laosan, son of a high ranking military officer, during the continuous education programme towards the end of the Cultural Revolution. The story is about the pure, but unfulfilled love between the two.
China’s fifth generation filmmaker Zhang Yimou, known for elaborate use of colours in films like Red Sorghum, Raise the Red Lantern and Curse of the Golden Flower, chose a different way to make this film, with softer colours and using simple language.
The film is produced by Zhang Weiping, and written by Yin Lichuan and Xiaobai Gu. Zhao Xiaoding is the director of photography and original music is done by Chen Qigang. Zhou Dongyu and Shawn Dou play the lead roles.
Under the Hawthorn Tree received numerous awards and recognitions and was featured in major film festivals like the Venice Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival.
The 114-minute long film will be screened at the Nishagandhi open-air theatre after the inauguration of the festival on December 9, an official release said.