A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »


Yimou Zhang


Yuan Bin Chen (writer of the the novella on which the film is based, "The Wan Family's Lawsuit"), Heng Liu
20 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Gong Li ... Qiu Ju
Peiqi Liu ... Wan Qinglai, chili farmer
Liuchun Yang Liuchun Yang ... Meizi, Qinglai's sister
Kesheng Lei Kesheng Lei ... Wang Shantang, village chief
Zhijun Ge Zhijun Ge ... Officer Li
Wanqing Zhu Wanqing Zhu
Luowen Cui Luowen Cui
Huiqin Yang Huiqin Yang
Jianfa Wang Jianfa Wang
Zi Lin Zi Lin
Jun Ye Jun Ye


A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of the hierarchy and travels farther and farther away from the countryside the viewer is also provided with a look at the changing Chinese society through the verite camera used in most scenes. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Lawyer Wu: [subtitles] Qiu Ju, in civil and administrative lawsuits, the defendants aren't necessarily bad people.
Qiu Ju: Do good people sue each other?
Lawyer Wu: Of course!
See more »


Referenced in Not One Less (1999) See more »

User Reviews

I enjoyed this complex, warm view of china.
7 December 2000 | by Charlie-209See all my reviews

Really enjoyed this one. Qiu Ju is the wife of a man who has been kicked by a neighbor, his village chief. She presses for an apology, largely (if subtitles do it justice) because, even though his chest is what hurts longer, he's been kicked in the "privates" and she wants more than one child. She takes her quest for the apology up the chain of officialdom.

I couldn't get enough of the scenery - houses, city, carts, clothes, painted paper banners, dried peppers and corn - and the faces of people. As other viewers noted positively, the people in it didn't seem to be actors but real people, caught up in daily affairs and catching us up, too. The nearby village is somewhat familiar to her, but her trip to the city may have been her first. Watching her trying to find her way around, haggling for fair rates and help from a produce buyer, a bike-cart driver, a letter writer, a hotelier, and a lawyer was a lot of fun. Her trips seemed like a great introduction to the culture.

One of the things I loved was how the families and neighbors kept having complex interactions with each other throughout the ordeal. And the social roles in this were interesting: Farm/village chief to farmer, sister to sister, daughter-in-law to her in-laws, Party officials to their hierarchy and to citizens, country to city, women's role in general (as in what sex babies are preferred) and the strong stance of a specific woman like Qiu Ju, who seemed to be empowered as much as frustrated by the system and by her family and neighbors.

I read reviews of this as a negative comment on bureaucracy. If so, it showed a remarkably humane one. Flaws were on display but the overall tone was of acceptance.

The sudden ending left me feeling for the main characters. I seemed to see a judgment in it, but wasn't sure what that judgment was. I wanted to know how the story was interpreted in China, so I came to IMDB to at least see how others took it.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 33 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



China | Hong Kong



Release Date:

16 April 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Story of Qiu Ju See more »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,785, 18 April 1993

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed