Two blind musicians are travelling to a remote village in Mongolia: an old master who hopes one day to see the world again, and his young pupil Shitou. As a boy, the master was given a secret recipe that could heal him, but only after the thousandth string on his qin (a traditional instrument) has broken.
In the meantime, the pupil rebels against the ascetic life of his master, dedicated completely to music. He falls in love with a peasant girl, provoking the anger of the village community. Life on a String is about the power and magic of faith. Real dreams and feelings are buried deep, hidden from the outside world - this is how Kaige saw the conformist, fearful silence in China. Life on a String, by now legendary director Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, Together and The Emperor and the Assassin, among others) was the first film to be supported by the Hubert Bals Fund.

Original title
Bian zou bian chang
Filmmaker
Chen Kaige
Country
China
Year
1991
Medium
35mm
Length
120’
Language
Mandarin
Producer
Don Ranvaud, Karl Baumgartner
Production Company
Beijing Film Studio, Serene Productions, Pandora Film Produktion
Sales
Kino Lorber
Writer
Chen Kaige, based on a short story by Shi Tiesheng
Cinematography
Gu Changwei
Editor
Pei Xianan
Production Design
Shao Ruigang
Sound Design
Tao Jing
Music
Qu Xiaosong
Cast
Liu Zhong-yuan, Huang Lei
Website
http://pandorafilm.com/filmography/life-on-a-string.html