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Young teen girl Xiu Xiu is sent away to a remote corner of the Sichuan steppes for manual labor in 1975 (sending young people to there was a part of Cultural Revolution in China). A year later, she agrees to go to even more remote spot with a Tibetan saddle tramp Lao Jin to learn horse herding. Written by
Though there was the usual disclaimer at the end regarding persons living or dead, this film has an undeniable authentic feel.
The Tibetan country-side is at once breathtaking and desolate; a perfect setting for a tale of unimaginable brutality. Far from overwhelming the movie, the music underscores Chen's theme of suffering and injustice visited upon young Chinese girls who were separated from their families and sent to places unknown, never to be heard from or seen again; young girls who were in effect disappeared. This is a film that will stay with me for a long time to come.
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