THE MONKEY KID Reviews from the French Release

 

ELLE
June 16,1997

Elle has chosen

The Monkey Kid: X-ray of the Cultural Revolution

by Philippe Colin

Red children

Chronicle of the daily life of a Chinese school girl in 1970. We are at the heart of the Cultural Revolution. The parents are in the country in a correction camp. The mischief and her sister amuse themselves with the games of small children as soon as they leave the classroom where they are made to read and recite the famous "Little Red Book," to sing hymns to the glory of Mao and to perform "revolutionary" choreographies. A few years ago The Blue Kite by Tian Zhuang-Zhuang had evoked this period in its mix of dull violence and modest courage of little people submerged in an everyday life of endangered wellbeing. Here, with a poignant simplicity of a production which has the verisimilitude of a documentary, Xiao-Yen Wang films first of all, and in spite of everything, the formidable, joyous vitality of childhood and its invincible resistance to all the official wrongs of an arbitrary power. A lesson for film and for morality in knowing how to shun outraged preaching and to supplant an attention — both tender and impassive — to the beauty of expressions trusting or distracted, of gestures, of smiles, of voices who tell more about it than any pamphlets, The Monkey Kid will — for all countries and all times — remain a work able to move and encourage those who believe only in life, stronger and more beautiful than any political compulsion. Which is to say, I feel this film is irreplaceable and essential.

The Monkey Kid French Reviews: Le Monde, Snippets of 24 other reviews