Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl – a movie review

November 26, 2012

The Sent Down Girl was filmed in China and directed by Joan Chen. It is a Mandarin language film with English subtitles and was filmed on the hauntingly beautiful Tibetan high plains.

During the Cultural Revolution, millions of teens were sent from the cities to the country or camps to learn humility and a simpler, peasant life.

This movie stars Lu Lu as Xiu Xiu, a teenage girl and Lopsang as Lao Jin, a castrated Tibetan nomad who is assigned to teach the innocent teen how to handle and train horses.

Xiu Xiu

Lao Jin falls in love with his young charge but he is a eunuch. Then there is a local low ranking Communist official and others, who introduce Xiu Xiu to a brutal world of sex for favors. This movie was not a condemnation of Communist China. This example of sexual harassment and abuse of power can happen anywhere.

The movie was based on an award-winning novella banned in China because of political and sexual content.  This was the first film Joan Chen directed. She is best known for her role in The Last Emperor as one of the emperor’s wives.

Discover Farewell My Concubine, an incredible Chinese film, or learn more abou Slavery is ALIVE today and your Child may be at Risk

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Home Song Stories

May 22, 2010

The Home Song Stories, based on a true story, stars Joan Chen as Rose. Joan Chen was born into a family of doctors and educated in China during Mao’s era. Chen is considered the Elizabeth Taylor of China and delivers a powerful performance in this movie, which won a slew of foreign awards.  Rose is a lost soul with two children who moves to Australia after marrying an Australian sailor she meets in Hong Kong.

It is late in the 1960s and the Australian sailor turns out to be an admirable character. You would have to see the movie to discover why.

Later in the movie, it is revealed that at sixteen Rose was sold to become a concubine for an older man.  Rose fell in love with her master’s younger brother, an artist, and they run off.  A few years later, the love of Rose’s life dies from  tuberculosis. To survive, Rose becomes a night-club singer who takes a string of lovers.  The story is told from the son’s point of few, who is a child.  Rose’s daughter is a teen for most of the movie.

I couldn’t find copies of The Home Song Stories in the US but did find copies on ebay from Australia. It’s too bad this movie did not gain wider attention in the US.

Discover more Chinese movies, Not One Less

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

March 18, 2010

Based on a novel written by Dai Sijie, who also directed the film.
ISBN: 978-0385722209
Publisher – Anchor (October 29, 2002)

I read Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress soon after it came out.  A few years later, we drove more than sixty miles to see the Mandarin language movie. Checking Amazon this morning, I saw there have been 230 customer reviews for the book with a four out of five star average. This short novel spent twenty-three weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. The author, born in China, moved to France where he learned to read, speak and write French. The book was originally written in French and translated into English by Ina Rilke.

Dai Sijie

The story is about two likable, teenage boys and their struggle after being banished to a peasant village for “re-education” during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Sons of doctors and dentists, the boys work at muscling buckets of excrement up the mountainside and mining coal. Then there is the little seamstress of the title, whom Luo, one of the boys, falls in love with. He dreams of transforming the seamstress from a simple country girl into a sophisticated lover. He succeeds beyond his expectations, but the result is not what he expected.

This link goes to the Mandarin language DVD with English subtitles.

Discover more Chinese cinema through Joan Chen’s Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

Where to Buy

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl

March 11, 2010

The Sent Down Girl was filmed in China and directed by Joan Chen. It is a Mandarin language film with English subtitles and was filmed on the hauntingly beautiful Tibetan high plains.

During the Cultural Revolution, millions of teens were sent from the cities to the country or camps to learn humility and a simpler, peasant life.

This movie stars Lu Lu as Xiu Xiu, a teenage girl and Lopsang as Lao Jin, a castrated Tibetan nomad who is assigned to teach the innocent teen how to handle and train horses.

Xiu Xiu

Lao Jin falls in love with his young charge but he is a eunuch. Then there is a local low ranking Communist official and others, who introduce Xiu Xiu to a brutal world of sex for favors. This movie was not a condemnation of Communist China. This example of sexual harassment can happen anywhere.

The movie was based on an award-winning novella banned in China because of political and sexual content.  This was the first film Joan Chen directed. She is best known for her role in The Last Emperor as one of the emperor’s wives.

Discover Farewell My Concubine

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China


After Mao

February 22, 2010

Unlike Mao’s time, today’s Chinese leaders must answer to the seventy-million party members scattered throughout China. These people listen to the 1.3 billion Chinese that do not belong to the party. The result: if an elected official is not doing his or her job, that person usually isn’t reelected.

Deng Xiaoping

Other changes took place after Mao. Under Deng Xiaoping, the People’s Republic announced a policy of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” John Gittings in The Changing Face of China quoted Deng Xiaoping as saying, “Planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity.”

Soon after Mao died in 1976, Deng Xiaoping’s Beijing Spring was introduced. This was a brief period lasting from 1977 into 1978. During that time, the public was allowed greater freedom to criticize the government, which wasn’t allowed under Mao.

An example of this may be seen in “The Awakening” (Su-Xing), a movie produced during this period starring Joan Chen (Chen-Chung) and Gau Fei. [ISBN: 978-7-88611-603-2]. There are no English subtitles so it helps to have someone that reads or speaks Mandarin beside you while watching the movie that can point out the subtle criticisms of the Party that appear in the film, which was considered controversial at that time.

There was also a new Beijing Spring between 1997 to November 1998 where the Chinese government relaxed some control over political expression and organization. It was during this time that China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Learn about China’s Modern Dynasty

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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