4 user 4 critic

Ling yi ban (2006)

Working as a secretary for a legal office, Xiaofen records clients detailing the sordid aspects of their lives: divorce cases, medical malpractice suits, financial corruption and ... See full summary »


Liang Ying


Shan Peng, Liang Ying

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4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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A 17 year old boy from a village in the Sechuan province leaves for the big city looking for his father, who left 6 years before and has not been heard of since. The fact that his mother ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Xigui Chen Xigui Chen
Gang Deng Gang Deng
Huibin Liu Huibin Liu
Xiaofei Zeng Xiaofei Zeng
Ke Zhao Ke Zhao


Working as a secretary for a legal office, Xiaofen records clients detailing the sordid aspects of their lives: divorce cases, medical malpractice suits, financial corruption and old-fashioned personal revenge. Xiaofen starts to question her own relationship with her boyfriend (Deng Gang), fresh out of prison and looking to get into trouble again with his gambling habit. While Xiaofen deals with the overwhelming social malaise surrounding her, rumors spread of a disaster at the local chemical plant, threatening to poison the entire city. Written by Anonymous

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Comedy | Drama







Release Date:

19 March 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Other Half See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

90 Minutes Film Studio See more »
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User Reviews

Messy Movie Making as Metaphor
23 March 2008 | by scif100See all my reviews

China is often depicted by the traditional media as a nation with a booming economy, a thriving middle class, and an unlimited future. We're led to expect that it soon will become the world's unchallenged economic and geopolitical superpower.

But there is another side to that narrative, a story of how the other half lives, those many millions who are caught up in the turbulent backwash of industrial and economic growth. This masterpiece of a movie tells a small but compelling part of that story, as seen through the eyes of a young woman trying to make her way through the maze of societal dead ends that confront her at every turn. Trying to find a decent job, dealing with a troubled boyfriend, fending off groping or overbearing suitors, or negotiating a hilly terrain of generational differences with her nagging mother, she does her best, as we all must do in our own circumstances.

Using natural lighting, ambient sounds, and a jerky or sometimes stationary hand-held camera, the director skillfully mixes a blend of professional and nonprofessional actors into a stunning triumph. Sometimes portrayed as quasi-documentary or shot as cinéma vérité, and at other times as a more straightforward low-budget melodrama, this highly unconventional effort shouldn't work, and yet somehow it does. Stick with the strange sound track and deliberately murky photography long enough, and eventually the power of what you're witnessing, in totality, may overwhelm you.

I had the experience of being completely consumed by this film, the essence of what Roger Ebert calls a "suspension of disbelief." I was in southern China -- Szechuan -- breathing polluted air, stifled by oppressive humidity, worn down by an incompetent strangling bureaucracy. I struggled, as our heroine struggled, to find a way out, to escape the dismal dead end that the other half must face each and every day of their lives. For me, of course, escape was as near as my theater exit. For her and for them, it's not so easy.

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