Some of the inevitable trials of youth as well as the particularities of the Chinese experience are examined in this tale of two generations of athletes spanning the pre- and post-Liberation periods. Eighteen years before the Liberation the romance between Tian Zhenhua and Lin Jie is broken up by the girl’s father, also the boy’s coach, who resents the outspoken, prideful youth. In the new China, Tian Zhenhua is himself a respected basketball coach. Among the young athletes under his direction is Lin Xiaojie, Lin Jie’s daughter, whose considerable talent is hampered by her own “bad attitude” and low moral. In taking the girl under his wing he is reunited with Lin Jie. Sports films are a staple of the Chinese cinema and many during this era focused on youth, with an optimistic emphasis on the need for both individual effort and team work to heal pre-Revolutionary wounds. Xie Jin’s important contribution to the genre is, typically, a moving reaffirmation of love in which the protagonist’s own near-tragedy is poignantly juxtaposed to his public dedication. —Pacific Film Archive
Xie Jin (simplified Chinese: 谢晋; traditional Chinese: 謝晉; pinyin: Xiè Jìn; November 21, 1923 – October 18, 2008) was an important Chinese film director. He came to prominence in 1957 directing the film Woman Basketball Player No. 5. Most recently he was known for the direction of The Opium War.
Xie is an extremely popular director amongst the older generations of Chinese, with six of his films being voted Best Picture in the Hundred Flowers Awards.
Xie was born in Shangyu, Zhejiang Province, and spent his childhood in his hometown and attended primary school for one year there. In 1930s, he moved to Shanghai with his parents and continued his education. In 1938, he followed his father to Hong Kong and studied there for one year. When returning to Shanghai in 1939, Xie enrolled in Daxia Affiliated High School and Jishan High School. In leisure time, Xie took courses at Huaguang Drama School and Jinxing Film Training School. His teachers included Huang Zuolin and Wu Renzhi… read more