The Story of Qiu Ju | Chicago Reader

The Story of Qiu Ju

Zhang Yimou shifts gears from the upper-class formalism and cloistered period settings of his Red Sorghum, Ju Dou, and Raise the Red Lantern with this 1992 comedy about a pregnant farm wife (Gong Li) taking on the government bureaucracy after her husband is injured in an altercation with the village chief. Shot mainly with hidden cameras and nonprofessional actors (including government bureaucrats), this may contain more casual information about everyday life in China than all the other Chinese movies distributed in this country combined; it's also an adroit piece of storytelling and mise-en-scene that shows at least as much of Zhang's directorial talent as his previous features. Screenwriter Liu Heng freely adapts a novel by Chen Yuan Bin, shifting its setting from southern China to a region in the north where Zhang himself grew up. 100 min.

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