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This 2003 Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Film is based on the experience of director and novelist Dai Si Jie, who spent four years in a re-education program instigated during Mao Zedong's "Cultural Revolution." Two teenage boys, Ma (Ye Liu) and Luo (Kun Chen), are sent to live on the remote mountain known as Phoenix in the Sky. The boys steal the "subversive" novels of Honore de Balzac, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, and Gogol, and read them to the granddaughter of the local tailor (Xun Zhou). While reading, both boys fall in love with the girl, and, through Balzac, discover awakening desire, passion, impulsive action, love--all the subjects that had, until then, been hidden.