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Women's Story (1989)

Nu ren de gu shi (original title)
1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview:
Wenrong Zhang ...
Mother Laizi
Min Zhang ...
Ruhui Song ...
Pregnant Woman (as Xiaojie Lin)
Zhenjun He ...
Worker A


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The adventures of three peasant women who flee their rural village to taste freedom in the big city.
18 August 1999 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Women's Story (mandarin: Nu ren de gu shi)

The adventures of three peasant women who flee their rural village to taste freedom in the big city. A movie from China's Fifth Generation. Desperate, sad, funny, insightful, ultimately inspiring.

An excellent movie throughout with a powerful ending. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the reality of modern China, showing what exists beyond the modern apartment blocks and shiny skyscrapers of today's big cities.

Three women in a small and oppressive, but typical, Chinese village near the Great Wall leave for the big city each for her own reasons--to escape, to discover, to profit. All of them want to better their lives, something they could not do in their village.

This movie is very much a commentary on women's rights and harshly enforced traditions, told with true conviction and without falling into sentimentality or becoming overtly political. Much is revealed concerning the status of the women in modern day China.

The life of a woman in China is shown to be that of a second class citizen whose only lot in life is to suffer. The life of a young girl in China is worth little; that of a young girl with no brother can be said to be worthless. Tradition dictates that only males of the family have value. Older women of the family brag about their male heirs. Women celebrate the birth of sons and mourn the birth of daughters. Cracks in these traditions are shown, but change will only come by confronting the problems shoulder to shoulder when women stand together.

Having lived and traveled extensively in China, I can say that this movie is a highly accurate portrayal of life in China, and of the barriers facing Chinese women of today.

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