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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Coming Home aka "Gui lai" [Blu-ray], 2014)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Le Vision Pictures

Video: Sony Home Pictures



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:48:53.527

Disc Size: 32,911,916,590 bytes

Feature Size: 26,966,661,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.87 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: March 8th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Mandarin 2149 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2149 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Descriptive Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2150 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2150 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps


Dolby Digital Audio Mandarin 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English, English (SDH) French, Portuguese, Spanish, none


Commentary by Zhang Yimou (in Mandarin with English subtitles)
TIFF 2013 Q&A with
Zhang Yimou (18:48)
Trailer (2:20)






Description: Lu (Chen Daoming) and Feng (Gong Li) are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. When Lu is released years later, he returns home to find his beloved wife has amnesia and remembers little of her past. Unable to recognize him, she still patiently awaits her husband's return. A stranger within his own family, Lu is determined to awaken his wife's memory through gentle displays of unconditional and eternal love.



The Film:

A thoughtful exploration of the nature of love and identity, Coming Home has something in common with Still Alice in its portrait of a woman who has lost her memories but remains intellectually alert and retains the emotional core of her selfhood. Gong Li is magnificent as always, though her performance here is deftly understated, often letting her character fade into the background in scenes where she sits at the centre. The actress' lengthy career and the romantic bond this has formed for many viewers makes Lu's altered relationship to her all the more poignant. But perhaps there is more than one way to look at this. If there is no way back, might there yet be a way forward?

Excerpt from Eye For Film located HERE


Zhang Yimou and Gong Li constitute one of the great director-actress pairings in movie history. In the 1980s and ’90s they worked together on a remarkable run of movies — including “Red Sorghum,” “Raise the Red Lantern,” “Shanghai Triad” and “To Live” — that were central to the resurgence of Chinese cinema and made international stars of both of them. Ms. Gong, noble, fragile and indomitable, was for Mr. Zhang a muse, an alter ego and an emblem of China’s suffering and resilience at important moments in the nation’s history.

Coming Home,” only their second collaboration in the past 20 years, reunites them in an intimate, politically resonant story set in the final years and the immediate aftermath of the Cultural Revolution. Ms. Gong plays Feng Wanyu, a teacher in a provincial city whose husband, Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming), a professor, has been sent to a labor camp in a purge of “rightists.” Feng Wanyu lives with their teenage daughter, Dan Dan (Zhang Huiwen), a dancer who dreams of playing the lead in the ballet “The Red Detachment of Women.” Her father’s pariah status threatens her ambition, and she is eager to denounce him when local officials demand it.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Coming Home looks strong on Blu-ray from Sony. It is easy to see by some of the vibrant, rich colors in the opening scenes that this is a deft transfer in the 1080P resolution. It appears shot on 4K digital and printed in 35mm gaining the visual attributes of that process looking very crisp in close-ups, pristinely clean and relatively smooth in-motion. This dual-layered Blu-ray, is probably a strong replication of the theatrical film's image quality. No noise or other issues whatsoever.


















Audio :

Sony use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround in Mandarin at 2149 kbps (16-bit). There are sparse effects - rain and dancing etc. that gain some acknowledged separation. The music is by Qigang Chen (who scored the previous two Zhang Yimou films) and it supports the period and cultural specifics of the film. There are foreign-language DUBs, an audio descriptive track and there are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

Nice to see Sony supporting this release offering an audio commentary by Zhang Yimou (in Mandarin with English subtitles) where he is fairly surface about the production but divulged some details about the story and themes. We get a Toronto Film Festival 2013 Q&A with Zhang Yimou running almost 20-minutes (trans;ated). There is a trailer and some Sony previews



Coming Home is more poignant, touching work from the director.  Gong Li is also brilliant and this is very strong political-oriented cinema exposing an ideology, family loyalty and  culture that we have trouble appreciating and understanding. This Sony Blu-ray provides a decent HD presentation and the extras give it further value.
Zhang Yimou fans should definitely indulge - this seems a return to his older, classic, cinema that we are enamored of. Absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

March 18th, 2016


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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