‘Coming Home’
Published: Apr 21, 2014 08:58 PM Updated: Apr 21, 2014 09:15 PM

Chen Daoming (R) and Zhang Huiwen Photo: Courtesy of Le Vision Pictures

Veteran Chinese director Zhang Yimou's latest work Coming Home is set to hit theaters across the country on May 16, the director said at a press conference in Beijing on Monday.

Based on Chinese novelist Yan Geling's Lu Fan Yanshi (Criminal Lu Yanshi), the film marks the second collaboration between Zhang and Yan since their big-budget work The Flowers of War three years ago.

A return to the art film genre that helped make Zhang famous, the film is Zhang's first project after joining Le Vision Pictures and involves a star-studded cast from leading actor Chen Daoming and actress Gong Li to script writer Zou Jingzhi, who received the Best Screenplay Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his recent cooperation with director Wong Kar-war on The Grandmaster (2013).

Coming Home depicts Shanghai scholar Lu Yanshi returning to China after years of overseas study, but he is soon dragged into the political turmoil going on in the nation during the 1950s.

After going to prison and being separated from his family for many years, he finally returns and reunites with his beloved wife.

"The novel is one long touching story covering many historical moments and characters. It would have been impossible to tell the whole story in an hour and a half," Zou said at the press conference. He explained that he spent "two years rewriting the script" and managed to narrow the film's main characters down to three people: Lu, his wife and their daughter.

Although the film is set among a decades old social background, the cast believes that the human emotion portrayed in the movie will still strike a responsive chord in the hearts of audiences, especially young people. "Young people will be moved by the deep love (in the film) and discover the beauty of love," Zou said.

Gong Li, who plays Lu's wife and once acted in Zhang's infamous movie Curse of the Golden Flower years ago, explained how she felt that love can cross the barriers of time.

"They( people born in 1980s-90s) are our main target audience. They may not know the time period that their parents or grandparents lived in, but they really need to understand the endless love that existed between them," said Zhang, who was criticized earlier this year for violating China's family planning policy by having three kids.

"The most important thing is to move our audience to tears and have them learn the stories of their parents' generation," said veteran actor Chen Daoming, who plays Lu in the movie.