This film begins in the 1940’s in China. The main character of the film is a man named Fugui. He is father to young Fengxia and husband to Jiazhan. Fugui is the son of a wealthy man and does not contribute much to the families well being. Fugui is a compulsive gambler and when his wife grows tired of his ways. Jiazhan serves her husband with an ultimatum, gambling or his family, he chooses gambling. Fugui digs himself into such a deep hole he loses the only thing his family has left, his father’s family home. When all is lost the family is left on the street. Fugui’s father dies due to the stress of losing everything and the family is left with nowhere to go. Many people who suffer from addiction often don’t realize they have a problem until all is lost, it is sad that it has to get to that level for many addicts to realize there is an issue. It may not seem like it now but these events later save the life of Fugui. Fugui goes to Longer (the man whom he lost the family home to) to ask him for help and Longer gives him a wooden box filled with puppets and tells him to go and earn his living from now on. Fugui meets a man name Chunsheng and decides to partner with him and start a shadow puppet show. While out on the road Fugui and Chunsheng are forced to play for the Red Army and entertain the troops. After a long time away from home Fugui eventually returns home to find his wife and family struggling to survive. Fengxia cannot speak and has become mute; this is a result of a high fever. He has a new son named Youqing and the family survives by delivering water to people of the town. His mother died during his absence as well. Fugui continues his puppet show in town and life continues on for the family. Meanwhile the man whom he lost the family home to Longer refused to donate any money or property to the people’s government, so he burned down the family home he won from Fugui. Longer was prosecuted for crimes against the...
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