Youth chronicles the lives of a group of idealistic adolescents in a military art troupe in the People's Liberation Army during the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s. The two key characters, Feng Liu and Xiaoping He, also participate in the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979 and become heroes for their acts of courage. After the war, they are honourably discharged from the Army but struggle to make ends meet in the Reform-era China, while they eventually find love with each other.
A coming-of-age drama that portrays a young generation during China's modern history experiencing love, lust and betrayal, Youth features in the background Mao-era songs and dances, but also the sufferings of the time. After its release in China was held back some time, this colourful, and ultimately remarkably melancholy film, became another big hit for director Feng Xiaogang, who has now made a success of nearly every genre: historical epics, war films, action thrillers and romantic comedy.