35 millimeter color film, Madarin with English subtitles, 100 minutes.


Like nearly 8 million Chinese youths between 1967 and 1976, the main character, Xiu Xiu was "sent down" for specialized training. Xiu Xiu dreamt of becoming a horse trainer in the plains of Tibet, far away from her city home. Her training begins in the camp of an odd, mysterious man. Their relationship develops slowly because Xiu Xiu believes she will be sent home at the end of her training. Eventually, Xiu Xiu realizes she will never see her parents, siblings and friends ever again without a wealthy sponsor. Her life becomes a horrifying cage, where corrupt government officials promise her release in exchange for sexual favors. How Xiu Xiu eventually escapes is a fascinating look at compassion, desperation and love.

Film Background

Directed by Joan Chen. The movie is based on an award winning novella, "Tian Yu" by Yan Geling, which was banned in China. The novella was banned for politcal and sexual content.

Point Of View

A powerful, evocative film with stunning depictions of the Chinese landscape. A compelling plot complete with interesting twists and turns. Not a light hearted frivolous film for an evening of chilling out. This is a movie for those moments when you want to beswept away into the human condition complete with all of its horror, tenderness, poignant ironies, and compassion.

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