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Nashan naren nagou
Nashan naren nagou (1999)
Movie
  • Director:
    Jianqi Huo
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Wu Si
  • Cast:
    Hao Chen,Eddie Eagle,Ye Liu
  • Time:
    1h 33min
  • Year:
    1999
An old postman has spent his whole life delivering mail to the mountain of Hunan and is about to retire. His only son is due to take over his duties. As father and son journey through the mountains, the son begins to appreciate the toil and burden his father has to bear as postman for the villagers, and the old postman is also deeply moved as his son relates his mother's anxiety as she waits for him to return home from every trip.
Casts
Credited cast:
Hao Chen Hao Chen - Dong girl
Eddie Eagle Eddie Eagle - Narrator, DVD Trailer (voice)
Ye Liu Ye Liu - Son
Rujun Teng Rujun Teng - Father (as Rujun Ten)

Nashan naren nagou (1999)
Siralune
Siralune
The story is simple. Only it is not. A son is taking over the postman job of his father, who is forced to retirement due to arthritis. And on his first day of job, the father walks along to show him the rope (literally). The job is simple, they walk uphill 80 kilometers a day for two days, and back down 80 kilometers on the third day, dropping off and picking up mails in the villages along the way. Yet the job is not that simple at all, the postman's job involves a lot more than just simply delivering mail, he also need to know the relationships amoung the villagers by heart. The story revolves around the relationship between the father and son. It is not a rebellion relationship typically seen in western movies, the son already appreciates the sacrifice his father has to make, considering the father is one of the only few literates in the area, yet he spents almost 30 years delivering mail on foot, often away from home for months - it is a great sacrifice (there's a scene late in the film which the son tells his father what needs to be done in their own village, and you realize that the father has been away from home for so long that he knows little about it). But this time, the son truely experiences and understands the difficulty of the job. The last few scenes of the film tells that even though the father may not have spend much time with his son, he could trust no one but him for the job, and you understand why his son, who could probably spent his life in the cities, takes his job at the beginning of the film.

Sometimes funny, but mostly touching, the subtle but deep bond between the father and son is very well acted.

Great cinematagraphy, well suited for the subtle tone of the film.

There are many little bits that would be lost to the westerners if translated in English. For example, the Chinese title of the film is "Those Mountains, Those People, That Dog", refering to their trusted family dog, a constant companion on the road. The name of the dog (in English dub is apparently Bingo), is "Lao Er", an often used term to descript the second son of the family. Even so, if it had a wider release in the states, I truely believe that it would win a lotta awards.
Shan
Shan
The story looks as simple as it can be. It is simply a record of the journey of two postmen in the mountains, father, son and their dog. The father is retiring and the son is taking over the job, with the help of their dog Buddy, who has been helping all along. But wait...

If you enjoy the docudrama style of "Not One Less" by Zhang Yimou, you will love this movie. It makes use of similar techniques but to an even more superb level. It does not attempt to 'tell a story', but simply lets the facts, conflicts and feelings unfold as the journey of the father and son goes on. It is so 'real' that even the names of the characters were not mentioned, they are just 'the postman', 'the son' as people would address them. (And as you would address your postman.)

The 'son' is one of the very few Chinese actors in recent Chinese cinema with cute looks and top quality acting. All the other actors did a great job as well.

The cinematography is excellent, especially when compared to most Chinese movies where lighting is poor. But this is not too surprising, knowing that the director had been an Art Director before.

The movie was based in the early 80's in China, and I just wonder if they are still using the same methods to distribute mail. Anyway I would like to pay my respect to all mail staff who have taken part in the difficult process of helping people communicate with each other, making the world a smaller and happier place.
Keel
Keel
I was fortunate enough to have a friend in Hong Kong to send me a CD of this film, for which I have to thank him immensely. It is a truly wonderful Chinese movie, and set in the China of the 1970's.

The plot, though simple, never fails to hold the attention, and gives a heartwarming insight into the relationship of a father and son getting to know, and learning to appreciate each other after long periods apart during all the years of the boy's upbringing.

The father, played by Rujun Ten, is a postman whose route takes him around the mountain of Hunan and away from his family for months at a time. But due to age (and failing legs) he is forced to retire and to hand the job over to his son, played by Ye Liu. This movie is the story of the former showing the latter the mail route, it's ups and downs, with introductions to the mountain people on the way. They are aided in no small way by their faithful German shepherd dog, Buddy.

The Chinese scenery is utterly stunning, the cinematography equally so, which is backed up by superbly sensitive and restrained acting by the two main players and also the supporting cast (which includes the dog, a star in his own right).

The one downside is that it's possibly a little too slow-paced for most Western tastes, and therefore probably won't get the universal airing it deserves. But for my money "Nashan naren nagou" ("The Mountain Postman") is absolutely unmissable.
Lcena
Lcena
I only chance upon this precious gem of a film from China while watching the DVD extra features of a Hong Kong film. Director Carol Lai talked about how she came to select actor Liu Ye in her film "The Floating Landscape" 2003. I caught her mentioning the film "Nashan Naren Nagou" (aka "Postmen in the Mountains) and I checked it out. It was a remarkable surprise - I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Its positive energy never thrust at you, but just be, and at times touching that would bring a heartwarming smile and tear simultaneously.

It may appear to be a simple film about the life of a postman who delivers mail in the rural mountains, but there's a lot more than meets the eye. And what a feast for the eye: the scenery is amazing and the cultural folklore enchanting. The simplicity (ease) of it all: direction, storytelling, cinematography, editing with sound and music flowing with the natural performances become an integral whole. The depth of varying emotions between father and son, mother and son, father and mother (in nostalgic flashbacks), father and the dog (affectionately called: the 'second son') - more than subtly reveals through the son's narration and realization how much the postman job means to his father and the people he served all these years. It's no simple story after all - a maturing journey where the son and the father grew to appreciate each other, strengthened their bond and increased their love of the family's central 'pillar' - the mother/the wife in their lives. The storyline is the staple of Asian culture.

As you go on this journey with the central characters, you will be rewarded more than hundredth fold. "That mountain, that man, that dog" - the literal translation of the Chinese title of the film comes as naturally and gently as the film is delivered. "Postmen in the Mountains" is not to be missed. It's available on DVD in Chinese with English subtitles. (If I remember right, it even featured a tune in English somehow.)
Fordregelv
Fordregelv
Lovely, sentimental film about life transitions for a father (Ten Rujun) and his young adult son (Liu Ye), set against a background of almost achingly beautiful landscapes photographed in the mountains of Hunan Province in south central China.

The time is the present, and the father, though only in his early 40s, is no longer physically able to conduct his torturous postal route made on foot, carrying a huge mail pack deep into the mountains. He has arranged for his son to inherit his job.

A vital member of the operation is the family dog, a precocious German Shepard who refuses to go out on the route with the son: it's too radical a departure from custom. So the father must also make the son's inaugural trip with him, to get the dog to go along. It's a good thing, too. Because there is much for the young man to learn that the dog alone could not have taught him.

For example, there is a blind woman living on an isolated farm who gets letters from her son living in the city. Actually he only sends money, never a personal note. So the father has made up letters from him to "read" to her over the years. In a small village, everyone turns out and the son can see that his father is deeply revered by the villagers as an important state official and singular link to the larger world.

The father also has some lessons to learn from his son, about village life back home, and the wants and needs of his mother, for the father has truly remained a stranger there through the years. The screenplay was adapted from a short story with the delightful title: "That Postman, That Mountain, That Dog."

The film won the 1999 Chinese Golden Rooster (Jin Ji) awards for best film and best actor (Mr. Ten). It also has been highly popular in Japan. An English subtitled cut was only prepared in 2003 and its distribution in the U.S. began just in mid-autumn, 2004. A gorgeous film about life's passages. (In Mandarin). My rating: 8/10 (B+). (Seen on 03/25/05). If you'd like to read more of my reviews, send me a message for directions to my websites.
Nalmezar
Nalmezar
Several months after seeing this film, it still has an impact on me. I can visualise the scene where the son piggy-backs the father across the river, the scene where the son reads the letter to the old lady etc. So little is said in this film, but it is pregnant with meaning. It has been a long time since a film touched me so deeply.
Akelevar
Akelevar
i saw the film during a recently held chinese film festival. i am happy i saw. this is the first film that i saw where the lead characters have no names! 1. the following scenes touched me the most. the father suffers from knee/leg pain. the son arranges the letters, the air blows off the letters. the father DASHES off and the Dog chips in, simply superb.

2. The son carries the father on his back across the river. on reaching the father turns away his face from the son to wipe his tears.

3. the interplay between the father, the son and the dog when they leave their house on work.

i thank the entire team for giving a wonderful movie to enjoy
Felolak
Felolak
Truly one of the best films I have ever seen. The landscape scenes are breathtaking. And the calm, balanced development is consuming. There is a peace and a serenity in this film that I can really only compare to what I used to feel when I would take long walks alone along the Chicago lake shore. I've also felt this kind of peace looking out over the Utah Salt Flats from the tops of the Pilot Mountains.

I don't know why this film is so hard to find in the U.S. market; all I can surmise is that American distributors are skeptical of the appeal a gentle, beautiful film. In an age, though, where we're bombarded constantly with terror alerts and hard-driving action films, I've got to believe that a film as quietly powerful as this could find audiences who will quickly be enchanted by a rural postman, his son, their dog, and the simple, wonderful villages they deliver the mail to.
Uaha
Uaha
I was able to see the movie from a local channel that shows art films every week. The film is about a father passing on his work as a postman to his son. It is about family, home, traditions, and relationships. There's so many lessons in life that one would pick up from this movie.

There are good character developments especially for the son who got to know and understand more about his father's life. He saw a different side of his father through the people his father delivered letters to. In addition, the people that the father and son encountered along their journey are unique. One would be able to relate to them one way or another.

The film showed a lot of cultural traditions and sceneries such as rice fields, stream, mountain roads, sunsets, wedding festivals, traditional houses, weaving, and more. These small details give the film the right feel and atmosphere.

One would definitely gain a lot of insights by simply watching the film. The film is a reminder that one should appreciate the small things in life and the things we take for granted.
Nenayally
Nenayally
Watch out, SOME SPOILERS!!!

While seeing this beautiful film I immediately remembered 'Not One Less' by Zhang Yimou which was a film is quite a similar manner as "Postmen in the Mountains'. The story is about father and his son who is taking over his father's job. The son thinks he already knows everything about his new job and it seemed to be easy for him but during his first days of being a postman he realises what the job is really all about, he has lots of new experiences and meets many new people, perhaps even his new love.

There are quite many scenes which being very simple manage to show the essence of humanity and relationships of people. For example as the father and the son are leaving a village they were passing the son is surprised to see a crowd of people staring at them. The father explains that all they came here to see his son - the new postman. Or the scene as the son is carrying his father though a river, or as the son is reading a letter to a blind old woman even though there's nothing written in it... Those moments are the most valuable moments of this film and makes it just beautiful. It's a 10/10
Virtual
Virtual
The old postman retired and passed the job to his son. Due to his worry, he decided to accompany his son on his maiden journey. In the past they had no much time to stay together because of the time-consuming job. This was a good opportunity for them to communicate. On the road, the son learned the hardship of the job. He also knew much from his father. At the same time, the father felt the strong love from his son.

The movie showed us the most beautiful side of human being. Only love can exists forever. We should cherish the people who love us and never be hesitant to show our love to them.

RuJun Ten convincingly played the kind father. Although it is Ye Liu's maiden show, his talent was obvious. His later works proved it. He won the best actor (golden horse award) for LanYun was not accidental. Director JianQi Huo did a great job indeed.

One of the best Chinese movies. 9/10
Shadowbourne
Shadowbourne
One of the few Chinese movies I've seen. A strong start to а whole festival dedicated to modern Chinese cinema - The Third Cinema or the cinema striving to implement social change.

No special effects, no cities and groups of characters, nothing modern. Only the time at which develops the film. However, innovative techniques of shooting, incredible sense of human nature and outcome. It shows the basics of human existence - nature as home of humanity and the family as a social and cultural evolution. Ties that exist in life of everyone but are sensed on different levels. It is also specified the meaning of authentic human existence - in harmony with nature and respect for the past generations, because even the youngest imperceptibly become outgoing generation. It is their turn to take responsibility "being alive" for ourselves and for others.

On places could be seem the presence of the Idea that holds this great nation throughout and makes its progress successful. Pierces principal links promoting its sustainability as a whole. It is possible to be build a gradation in the direction of the modern city as evidence after our line passing through small worker villages, larger villages and the city where the business is concentrated.

For the bridges that we build continuously in the world around us. Very green and hitting the authentic humanism that is not based on anything but alone is a reason for everything. The relationship between father and son, and the difficult dialog between them. The place of the women and the mothers in the Eastern culture. An unpredictable journey, far different from the stereotypes of action and a happy ending.

http://vihrenmitevmovies.blogspot.com/
Kecq
Kecq
A postman in the Hunan region is retiring, passing on the role to his son. The route is a gruelling one through the mountains, and Dad's knees can't take the pounding any more. On Son's first day, Dad and dog Buddy accompany him to familiarise him with the route. The job has kept Dad away for long stretches, so Dad and Son use the journey to re-acquaint themselves.

The meagre plot is more than compensated for by lush photography, naturalistic acting and keen attention to detail. Son realises his father does more than just deliver mail; he keeps families together, protects the weak and vulnerable, provides guidance to the young. Father realises that his son is a man and has missed having a father over the years. Son hears the story of how his father met his mother on the route - and then gets to enact possibly his own story of pre-destined lovers...

You feel as if you are on the mountain paths with these three (the dog is very much a character in the travels). Their journey, both physical and spiritual, speaks to family, belonging, human connection and what the sum of a working life adds to. There is a passing of the baton, a shift from one stage in life to another, for all involved. The dog becomes the symbol for the acceptance of this at the end, in a hugely cathartic visual mise-en-scene. An elegiac and uplifting film, imbibed with humility.
Sorryyy
Sorryyy
I was lucky enough to see this on the big screen (thank you, Nickelodeon in Santa Cruz, CA!). Fell in love with it and couldn't wait for it to hit DVD format. Fast forward a couple years and I rented it for relatives. Alas, it was drained of most of its color and the subtitles were so pale and ruined with gaps you couldn't read them. Given how simple the story is you know they had to be bad if it interfered with that, which it did.

Does anyone know if there's since been a better transfer? This movie sure deserves a good presentation. I saw this at a film festival and it's still one of the few non-documentary Chinese productions I've found that illustrate something of the lives of people in rural China, as opposed to the urbanized views we get on the news.
Ynap
Ynap
"Postmen in the Mountains" is set in a rural part of Hunan province, China, during the early 1980s, the period when the modernisers with in the Chinese Communist Party, led by Teng Hsaio-ping, were starting to break down the strict Maoist orthodoxy which had prevailed ever since the 1949 revolution. This remote mountain area, however, does not appear to have undergone much modernisation of any kind, and life still continues as it has done for decades, perhaps even centuries.

The two main characters are the local postman and his son. (We never learn their names). Although the father is only in his forties, he is being forced to retire from his job because of arthritis in his knee; the job is a physically demanding one which requires him to walk through the mountains on journeys lasting several days. The young man is taking over his father's position and on his first journey as postman the father accompanies him, together with the family's faithful dog, to show him the route. (The dog is given greater prominence in the original Chinese title, "Nashan naren nagou", or "Those Mountains, Those Men, That Dog").

During the course of their journey, the young man learns about more than the route he needs to follow or the demands of his new job. He also gets to know the villagers who live along the way, many of whom have become close friends of his father. In one village the two are invited to attend a wedding celebration among the Dong people, a local ethnic minority who do not belong to the majority Han Chinese community and speak a different language. Most importantly, the son gets to know his father better; the two were not close during the boy's childhood, as the demands of his job meant that the father was away from home for long periods of time.

"Postmen in the Mountains" is a strongly pictorial film, by which I mean that the emphasis is placed as much upon the visual elements as upon dialogue and physical action. It is shot using longer takes than would be normal today in American or European films; as with many Chinese or Far Eastern films every shot seems to be carefully composed like a painting. There are certainly some Western films that also have this quality- "Far from Heaven" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring" are two recent examples- but it seems to be more common in Asian ones. The photography of the mountain scenery is particularly striking.

I caught this film recently when it was shown as part of a cultural festival to mark Chinese New Year in Greenwich, a district of London with a large Chinese community. It was my first introduction to the films of Huo Jianqi, a director with whom I was not previously familiar, although I knew the work of his older contemporaries Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou. (Zhang's films in particular are also notable for their pictorial qualities- "Raise the Red Lantern" and "House of Flying Daggers" are good examples). Huo is perhaps less well-known in the West than Chen and Zhang, but on the basis of this film he is an excellent director and brings out two very good performances from his leading actors Ten Rujun and Liu Ye. "Postmen in the Mountains" may be too slow paced for some Westerners used to action-packed blockbusters, but I found it a beautiful, wise and serene film about traditional Chinese life and a moving father-son relationship. 8/10
Skillet
Skillet
Maybe in China every son can not balance the relationship with dad. At least it is this case for me. Father's love to son is very obscure in our country when the boy grows up(maybe after beyond 16 years old). They want to show their son they love them, but they can't find the correct way. In this movie, the father plays a role like this. He has to be away from home for almost all the time in order to deliver mails for people living in mountains. And the roads are very hard to walk on. He did the job very well because he made almost everybody appreciate his work. This is the biggest success of him, although he didn't get lots of money or high position.

The reason I didn't rate it 10 is as follows: I don't think father should decide what his son should do in his future. But this film shows the contrary!

During the process I saw this movie, I recalled a song named "Dan Che" by Eason Chan from Hong Kong. Both the movie and the song got my tears! You can hear and watch this song here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=5MQfqBP1muc