If you haven’t read his amazing article “The Dark Side of Dubai,” you should.
Zhang Yimou’s To Live (1994) makes no attempt to romanticize the past. The film tells the incredible journey of a Chinese family from horrific civil war in the 1940s to the tragic mistakes of the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s. It tells this story matter-of-factly without unneeded garnish and allows the main couple, Jiazhen (played by Gong Li) and Fugui (the talented Ge Yo), to display for themselves the depths of human emotion and spirit.
The air in my hometown of Wellesley, Massachusetts has never smelled so fresh. Having been in the concrete jungle of New York City for so long, my nose has grown accustomed to the smell of frat party aftermaths, fumes from beleaguered taxi cabs, and decaying detritus spilled and neglected by trash collectors. Therefore, the air here 202 miles away from the Big Apple is an amenity I never realized I sorely missed.