Daughter From Yan'an

During China's Cultural Revolution millions of urban teenagers were sent to the countryside to be reeducated as peasants. Many disobeyed an official ban and had illegitimate children, and this candid and touching documentary follows some former students as they arrange a meeting between two classmates and the daughter they abandoned. Perhaps ironically, director Kaoru Ikeya has chosen a young woman from Yan'an, a town in the parched highlands of central China that was the cradle of Chinese communism. She chafes at her harsh life and the feudal thinking of her foster parents and in-laws and longs to see her birth parents, who are now married to other people and living in Beijing. Ikeya, who's Japanese but has focused on China ever since Tiananmen, evenhandedly elicits frank comments and reactions from his subjects. The meeting between daughter and father is sad to watch, as is the reunion dinner of old classmates, who lament their lost youth and fear being forgotten by a new generation. It's an illuminating look at how China is confronting a painful past. In Mandarin with subtitles. 120 min.

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