Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Liu Yiran, Huang Xingrao, Li Kechun, Wang Yizhu, Liu Rui
Director: Li Yu
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests
During a time of rigid moral code in China, Xiao Yun, a sixteen year old girl living in small riverside town, discovers she is pregnant. The local community is stunned, her family loses face and she is forced to put her ch... more »
DAM STREET: Grim Bleak But Compelling
Martin Asiner | Jersey City, NJ | 10/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Life in the post Mao era of the 1980s in China has the well deserved reputation of unrelieved grimness. DAM STREET is the visual affirmation of a culture that seems intent on punishing anyone who goes against the crowd. Director Yu Li uses stark images of a town located directly on a river that functions as a dam, literally holding back the potential energy of the swirling waters beyond and figuratively trapping the kinetic energy of the residents, all of whom are involved with avoiding being crushed by uncaring others or crushing those who cannot get out of the way fast enough. Sister Yun (Liu Yi) is a sixteen year old school girl who commits the unpardonable sin of getting pregnant by her boyfriend Wang Fen (Liu Rui). Their indiscretion is blared over the school's loudspeaker. Both are expelled. Wang Fen shows little gumption as he quickly accepts his disgrace and leaves town to become a carpenter's apprentice. Sister Yun has to face the hostility of the town totally alone. Her mother Teacher Su (Li KeChun) beats her and conspires with her other daughter Wang Zhengyue (Wang Yizhu)to give away the baby. They tell her the baby was stillborn. Ten years pass and Sister Yun tries to live down what she and the town see as a disgrace. She becomes a traditional Chinese opera singer who gets roundly booed when she sings. They urge her to sing pop songs, which she does. Her life is grim and unrelentingly cruel. She takes a lover who is married. When the wife finds out, she interrupts Sister Yu's singing to administer a public beating. Sister Yun becomes friends with a ten year old boy who needs a mother just as she needs a son. Complicating matters is a Freudian undertow of an Oedipal complex as their relation inches back and forth toward crossing a forbidden line.
There is no relief from the bleakness of life. Strong male figures are noticeably absent. The few males featured are weak like her boyfriend or jerks like her married lover. Most of the cast are females of assorted ages, none of whom are willing to cut Sister Yun any slack. The dam that holds back the river does not budge an inch and neither do the unforgiving crowd that surrounds it. DAM STREET is a compelling look at a culture that is not so different from the one that forced Hester Prynne to wear a scarlet letter of shame in a different time and different country."
Love's Labor Lost in Sichuan
J. Conwell | California and China | 12/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have traveled to Sichuan China several times in the last few years, where this movie is set. Despite the outward progress of capitalism in a Communist country, the status of women has changed very little -- especially when a single woman's daughter becomes pregnant. In order to "protect" the daughter, the new born son is reported doa, but is secretly raised through the intervention of the daughter's mother. Interesting relationships develop over the years involving all three members of this broken family. There is heart-breaking opportunities to accept responsibility for the actions of mother and daughter, built around the son, but too many hardships and delusions get in the way. A powerful portrait of the shame and lost love between mother (the ever-beautiful Li Kechun, whose acting is superb) and daughter is uneasy, but worth the closing scene. High recommendation."