If money can't buy happiness, can it at least buy control over others? Xiang is hard-working, running a small sesame oil business. Her husband is lazy and drinks; her son is blood simple. ... See full summary »
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On Dry Well Lane in Beijing in 1953, Chen Shujuan and Lin Shaolong marry. A year later their son, nicknamed Tietou (Iron Head), is born. The Party is everywhere: Mao's photograph, ... See full summary »
In 1930s China a young woman is sent by her father to marry the leprous owner of a winery. In the nearby red sorghum fields she falls for one of his servants. When the master dies she finds... See full summary »
As in the novel of the same title from Camilo Jose Cela, "La Colmena" is a sad composition with the stories of many people in the Madrid of 1942, just the postwar of the spanish civil war. ... See full summary »
The story of Norbu, a horse thief, who is thrown out of his tribe in an effort to purge it of evil. Norbu repents after the birth of his son, but he is forced to steal again after the birth... See full summary »
A married village worker teams up with an old girlfriend to try to dig a well for his water-starved village. The well collapses and they are trapped. Their enforced confinement leads to ... See full summary »
Four friends come up with an unusual idea to make some money and have fun doing it. For a small fee, they will impersonate and act out any character role for their customers. In the course ... See full summary »
If money can't buy happiness, can it at least buy control over others? Xiang is hard-working, running a small sesame oil business. Her husband is lazy and drinks; her son is blood simple. When Japanese investors provide capital to expand Xiang's business, she has the wealth to raise her social standing and buy a wife for her son, Dunzi. When money and a forceful personality fail to bend others to her will, including daughter-in-law Huanhuan, Xiang must find another way to tranquillity. Written by
This movie explores the moral dilemmas of a woman who has beaten the system on its own terms. Madame Xiang was sold at the age of 7 to the drunken lout who is now her husband of 20 years. She says she cried when she was a child, but long ago she became a stolid seeker of opportunities, with a secret lover and a successful business. Now her life comes full circle as, playing the solid patriarch that her husband could never be, she buys her retarded son a lovely young bride. Instead of preaching, Xie Fei builds powerful dramatic episodes that make the viewer feel equally strong sympathy for Madame Xiang and horror at what she is doing. The film's last moment, when she can no longer close her eyes to the horror, is very powerful. The cinematography is especially effective: the lake of the title is filmed with a lyrical beauty that serves primarily to provide an ironic contrast with the unfolding events but also underpins the characters' sense that beauty and dignity in life are somehow possible, somehow their right.
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