The Love of the Hawthorn Tree (simplified Chinese: 山楂树之恋; traditional Chinese: 山楂樹之戀) is a movie directed by the Chinese director Zhang Yimou. It was adapted from the popular 2007 novel "Hawthorn Tree Forever" by Ai Mi, which was based on a true story, and was set during the Cultural Revolution.The film was released in Mainland China (September 2010), Hong Kong (November 2010) and in Singapore.
Set during the end of China's Cultural Revolution in a small village in Yichang City, Hubei Province, China, this film is about a pure love that develops between a beautiful high school student, Zhang Jingqiu and a handsome young prospector named Lao San. Jingqiu is one of the "educated youth" sent to be "re-educated" through work in the countryside under a directive from Chairman Mao.
She arrives with a group in Xiping village, in the Yangtze River's Three Gorges region, where they are shown a hawthorn tree called the Tree of Heroes which was reputedly nourished by the blood of Chinese martyrs executed by the Japanese during World War Two. Jingqiu is lodged with the family of village head , where she meets geology student Sun Jianxin (nicknamed Lao San) ,who also takes his meals at Zhang's home, and was drawn his responsible and honorable character.
Lao San's father is a high-up in the military but his mother committed suicide four years ago after being branded a "rightist". Jing's father is also a political prisoner somewhere in China and her mother is branded as a "capitalist" and is reduced to menial work to support their family. Following the political persecution of his father, Jing Qiu lives up to his mother’s expectations and becomes the rock of the family.
Despite the fact that this could imperil the future of Jingqiu and her family, the two main characters fell in love at first sight and their relationship continues the following year. Lao San also promises to wait for her until she grows up. She, however, becoming conflicted between love and duty.
However, Lao San later develops leukemia and forces himself to leave his sweetheart. Jing, without knowing about his deadly disease, is only reunited with him when he's dying. Will their love ever become fulfilled?
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Produced by Zhang Weiping, Cao Yuayi, Hugo Shong, Bill Kong
Written by Yin Lichuan, Gu Xiaobai, A Mei (novel)
Story by Ai Mi
Starring Zhou Dongyu, Shawn Dou
Music by Qigang Chen
Cinematography Zhao Xiaoding
Editing by Meng Peicong
Distributed by Edko Fims Ltd.
Release date(s) 15 September 2010 (2010-09-15) (China)
Running time 114 minutes