Loneliness, saving face, and public mores. In 1983 in China, Yun is a bright schoolgirl who gets pregnant. She's expelled, her boyfriend leaves town, and her mother arranges the baby's ... See full summary »
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Loneliness, saving face, and public mores. In 1983 in China, Yun is a bright schoolgirl who gets pregnant. She's expelled, her boyfriend leaves town, and her mother arranges the baby's adoption, telling Yun the child died at birth. Ten years later, Yun sings pop songs in a dive, takes the occasional married lover, and lives with her mother, a teacher. The mother tutors a student, Xiao-yong, a lad of ten, who becomes attached to Yun. Yun's mother discovers who the boy's really is and a struggle begins. Should he be told; should Yun reclaim him; does her mother's opinion matter; what about the woman who's raised him? Is there room in a Chinese town for a woman to breathe? Written by
I saw this at the Toronto International Film Festival today and enjoyed this dramatic tale of a pregnant high-school girl who is scorned by family and society.
The movie spans about 10 years and hence paints a somewhat intricate story against the changing backdrop of Chinese society and changing values. The pressure of society and family against this pregnancy, in my view, is really what this movie is about. In another time, or a more liberal era, some of the things that would happen would be non-issues. Who cares that there was a teen pregnancy. It can happen. And it might. But when pressures are too great, then back-door plans are concocted and that's what this story focuses on. It's an intimate look at some of the darker moments beyond the back door and yet hints to some better times.
A strong cast and some gritty and textured locations (including a street that acts as a dam -- hence the name 'Dam Street') make for a very authentic and subtle story that allows the story to emerge on its own.
Linguistic Note: This movie takes place in Sichuan -- which means a lot of the Chinese is actually of the Sichuan dialect. This may make it less accessible for Mandarin speakers unless subtitles are included.
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