Astory set in the 1940s where Fugui loses his fortune to gambling,including his wife and home. As a struggling peasant in theforthcoming years, he recruits into a theater troupe, later onenlisting in the Chinese army. The film is depicted during a periodthat China faced its great Cultural Revolution. The film demonstratesthe talent composed in firm visual tableaux.
Fuguistarts off as the face and definition of irresponsibility andindolence. He lives the life of a heavy gambling addict who hits rockbottom after losing his amassed wealth and belongings. The lossfollows with Fugui’s wife and children leaving him to hisrecklessness. However, after portraying Fugui in the dim light, thefilm shows a form of human resilience. Fugui is persistent to makeamends for the wrong he committed. He is enlisted into the ChineseNationalist Army as a shadow puppet actor, to amuse the soldiers. Helater on joins the Red Army, where he can revive his wealth and senseof responsibility. The film further adds up on this resilience, byshowing Fugui’s reunion with his family.
Comedyand Humor Used in Personal Relationships
Fuguiis portrayed as a Chinese comic who grows from a bourgeois, indolentgambler to a resourceful and resigned family man. There is a cruelirony of the film’s banishment. It is as a result of the epicversion of the film moves past the critical. It shifts to thehistorical depiction, celebrating people at any place and time. Thecelebration is focused on those individuals who persist throughcataclysmic political, economic and social upheaval of China.
Fuguiis literary a comic in scene, amusing Nationalist Army troops withhis talented shadow puppet acts. The film displays a full artisticexpression, with the unrelenting portrayal of the severe ravages ofpolitical alterations.
Relationshipbetween the State and the Individual
Thefilm portrays an ill light of the pro-Maoist historical occurrence,reason to its ban in China. Fugue is used as a representative of thepeople in the film. He shows strong support towards communism, as atool that led him into salvation. The staunch communistic belief,carried by the state, also evidently aided Fugui in his redemption.He initially began as an irresponsible individual but ended up asreliable citizen, husband and parent. ToLive actsas a commentary on the contemporary state of the Chinese society. Thefilm portrays a strained relationship between the state and thecommon Chinese citizen. Statements are that the state rules with adictatorship perspective. Chinese citizens experience difficulties inenjoying the freedom of expression, due to oppression by thegovernment. However, the film portrays this challenge in a mannerthat avoids any forms of explicit criticism towards the Chinesegovernment. The film makes an effort to avoid any depiction of directmass suffering or social violence, so as to avoid any furtherstrenuous relationship between the state and citizen. However, ToLive showsa subtle scenario of the factual events that occurred during theCultural Revolution.
ToLive showsa wide range of social criticisms that are targeted towards theChinese system. Apart from the Chinese system, the film also portraysa general visual on universal human issues. The anti-communismdepiction of the film sheds light on the ills of the government.Jiazhen plays a role in showing the wider situation of the Chinesecitizens. She portrays the extended-suffering patience that theChinese citizens possess.