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Little Red Flowers (2006)

Kan shang qu hen mei (original title)
A young boy starting school for the first time struggles to fit in to a strictly regimented society in in post-revolutionary China.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bowen Dong ...
Fang Qiangqiang
Yuanyuan Ning ...
Yang Nanyan
Chen Manyuan ...
Yang Beiyan
Zhao Rui ...
Ms. Li
...
Ms. Tang (as Xiaofeng Li)
Yujia Sun ...
Dou
Ma Du ...
Fa
Runqiu Liu ...
Pang
Ziye Wang ...
Mao
Yanghao Zhang ...
Jin
Jiani Kang ...
Jia
Jiaheng Zhao ...
Hai
Lian Liu ...
Qian
Qing Yao ...
Ning
Huacheng Li ...
Long
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Storyline

Qiang is a four-year-old little rebel, possessed of a pair of luminous eyes and a precociously indomitable will. His father deposits him at a well-appointed residential kindergarten in post-1949 Beijing, since his parents are often away. Life at the kindergarten appears rich and colourful, made up of a variety of cheerfully sunny rituals and games meant to train these children to be good members of society. But it's not so easy for Qiang to adapt to this kind of carefully organized, minutely scrutinized collective life. A fierce individualist in miniature, he tries but fails to conform to the model his teachers enforce. Yet he still craves the reward that the other students win: the little red flowers awarded each day as tokens for good behaviour. But Qiang doesn't win any flowers: he can't yet dress himself, and doesn't play together with the other kids. He even dares to talk back to the strict Teacher Li and Principal Kong when they try to impose some discipline on him. Gradually, ... Written by the producers

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Comedy | Drama

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12 January 2007 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Pequenas Flores Vermelhas  »

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User Reviews

 
Full of charm and innocence.
23 November 2015 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

If Yuan Zhang's "Little Red Flowers" isn't quite in the same class as Nicolas Philibert's masterpiece "Etre et avoir" it is still one of the best films ever made about small children in a school environment but whereas the Philibert film was a documentary this is fiction and at times the performances or 'non-performances' Zhang draws from the children are nothing short of miraculous. The setting is a boarding kindergarten in post-Revolutionary China and the central character is Fang Qiangqiang, a disruptive four year old desperate to fit in.

There's no real plot to speak of and Zhang films it as if it were a documentary with perhaps more of an emphasis on the children's toiletry habits than some people might like. Although the film is perfectly innocent and full of charm, repetitive shots of our little hero and his friends in the altogether could prove problematic to Western audiences. (The Chinese, or is it just Zhang, seem obsessed with peeing, pooping and farting). Look beyond that, however, and this is a lovely account of one little boy's need for acceptance. The title refers to the little red flowers the children are rewarded for good behavior.


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