Director: Liu Fendou.
Screenplay: Liu Fendou.
Cast: Yang Kun, Xia Zitong, Yu Ailei.
Liu Fendou is a great director and screen player (Ocean Flame, Full circle, Shower) who, sometimes, surprises the audience with human and quotidian stories full of powerful and well elaborated characters. Today, we’ll talk about his latest work as a director, The Heart, a sports drama that becomes diluted in a wonderful story of friendship and sacrifice.
Tan Kai is a veteran boxer who is about to retire. During his last fight, he accidentally punches his team mate Wang Yao causing his death. From this moment on, Tan’s world turns upside down as his colleagues, friends and Yao’s family deeply hate him. Wang’s heart is donated to Li Chuan, a young girl who loves music and dreams about becoming a singer. Full with guilt and desperation, Tan Kai decides to personally meet Li Chuan and they befriend until the day that, suddenly, Li Chuan’s body starts to reject the heart donated by Wang. Consequently, the girl needs a new surgery, but the cost is so high that she can’t afford it. Decided to pay for his sins, and also for the girl’s treatment, Tan Kai laces his boxing gloves once again in order to find the redemption he longs for.
The Heart is a sports drama with a classic structure and a solid screenplay tucked by high-level performances... A story about futureless, battered, broken-hearted characters and their desperate fight for a way out. Thanks to the softness and dexterity which with it is shot, it reaches a narrative flow with a certain degree of personality. The spectator must bear in mind that drama is the prevailing factor in the production, a drama that strengthens its touchy side and leaves aside the sports overload present in similar movies.
Yang Kun and Xia Zitong offer very human performances, with an impressive realism that immerses the audience in the plot. The perfect construction of the characters, that stands out by their motivations and the curious way that life has to bring them together even though their paths seem really apart: On the one hand, Tan Kai has lost his will to live, but possesses the gift of life. On the other hand, Li Chuan wishes to live and fulfill her dreams, but she’s running out of time. Two broken souls searching for hope.
The heartbreaking boxing fights are perfectly choreographed, though and full of strength and realism, a clear reflection of the internal struggle suffered by our hero.
The sweet soundtrack leads us by the hand through sadness and melancholy, but also gets vivid and electric in the scenes related to sport. The delicateness and the rawness transmitted by the film mix together with its heartrending backstory among soft piano notes that perfectly accompany this sad ballad about guilt, redemption and forgiveness; an elegance stained by a hostile and horrifying background.
In short, The Heart is an excellent, highly emotional drama that wills to reach the audience heart in a very direct and quotidian way. A great example of the good deeds of the Chinese cinematographic industry. Excellent!
The best: The realism transmitted by some of the scenes. The performance of the main characters.
The soundtrack... it is simply delicious.
The worst: Sometimes, the flashbacks interrupt the continuity of the plot.