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China, the 1990s. In villages where female babies are drowned, there are few young women to marry the men and bear more sons. Families buy wives - girls lured from the city. Bai finishes college and accepts a job in a remote mountain village harvesting herbs. It's a ruse: she's sold to a peasant family. She's indignant; the parents hold her so the son can rape her. She tries to run away; she's beaten. Other women kidnapped a few years before, now with children, tell her to comply. She continues to try to escape. She writes to her father, smuggling letters to the mailman. She obtains a bit of money. The village is without pity, except for the teacher. Can he help her? Anger mounts. Written by
Blind Mountain is an excellent film about a college girl being duped into going into a mountain village and left there "sold" as a bride and her attempts to escape and get back to her family. The plot sounds trite but Yang Li's excellent direction and the crisp editing along with superb performances in the main roles, make this into a twisting horror story and the viewer knows not, where the plot is going.
Apart from the main role of Bai and the teacher, all other actors were actual mountain village people which is startling in the uncompromising look at their culture and the hard lives ingrained into their faces, there are also some real, now rescued, "brides" playing themselves in the film.
Although the film as a good social point to make, it's not preaching or forcing the issues on you but rather asking you to examine the situation. To the villagers, this is just life and it's always been this way, to observers they seem inhumane. Although the film obviously brings up the issue of the one child policy, these villages and bride trafficking have been going one since long before that policy was put into affect and still does in many parts of the world, not just China.
Yang Li was in the audience and took questions at the Hawaii International Film Festival. It was annoying to see the Q&A get hijacked a little by feminists wanting to make a point and answering their own questions but other than that the director was frank and forthcoming about his film.
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