Having no other option, Li Xuelian, a poorly educated villager, and her husband Qin Yuhe agree to fake a divorce. However, during the couple's separation, Qin falls in love with another woman--and as if his divorce with Li was real--he decides to move on with his life, leaving the jilted former spouse out in the cold. Under those circumstances and in the dreadful position of being denounced as a Pan Jinlian--a 17th-century Chinese adulteress who conspired with her partner to kill her husband--Li sets off on a legal crusade to clear her name. But even though Li is undoubtedly determined, on the other hand, she is nothing but a small nuisance in a sluggish and bureaucratic system where, sometimes, ants can become elephants. In the end, how long can a single woman hold on against an entire government?Written by
The film is presented in a round frame, not the conventional 4 frames. See more »
A sesame seed has become a watermelon.
An ant has become an elephant.
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Betrayal and injustice hides a bigger loss
Cinematography is absolutely stunning in this, justly lengthy, portrayal of a woman's quest to gain justice for a wrong, multiplied several times, by uncaring bureaucracy. It is not until the end that we discover exactly why this woman is determined to revoke and repeat a divorce that everyone else insists is valid. She is cast as the indecent woman, a Madam Bovary, but she most definitely is not. She's not mad either, which is what you and all the other characters in the film are lead to believe. It takes patience to uncover the small piece of missing information that makes sense of all. Patience is richly rewarded in this thoughtful and closely observed film - almost to the extent of forensic examination through a microscope.
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