Monday, May 21, 2007

Film: The Story of Qiu Ju

Tuesday | June 5, 2007
Film Society at Lincoln Center
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Zhang Yimou is one of my favorite directors. I was fortunate to recently see the re-release of Raise the Red Lantern at the Film Forum here in NYC. I first saw it almost ten years ago so I wasn't sure what I would think of it now. Well, it was so much better that what I remembered. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be available in Netflix yet. (Facets Multi Media in Chicago says that they have some copies for sale.)

The Story of Qiu Ju is another example of the immense talent of Zhang Yimou where he once again uses the beautiful Gong Li as his lead. It is expensive to see it at the Lincoln Center but it may be worth it especially if you've never seen a Zhang Yimou film on the big screen.

From the director of Raise the Red Lantern, Hero and To Live comes this little gem of a film that tells the story of a poor, pregnant farmer’s wife who doggedly seeks justice for the wrong committed against her husband.

Kicked in the groin by the village chief, Qinglai can’t perform normal work functions. When the chief refuses to apologize properly, his wife, Qiu Ju (played by a young Gong Li), seeks retribution through all levels of Chinese authority. “Watching the film, we find the humor for ourselves, and along the way we absorb more information about the lives of ordinary people in everyday China than in any other film I’ve seen,” wrote Roger Ebert. The film had its American premiere at the 1992 New York Film Festival and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.


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