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Woman Sesame Oil Maker
Woman Sesame Oil Maker
Actors: Siqin Gaowa, Wu Yujian
Director: Fei Xie
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
NR     2004     1hr 46min

Xiang is hard-working running a small sesame oil business. When japanese investors provide capital to expand xiangs business she has the wealth to raise her social standing & buy a wife for her son. When money & a forceful...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Siqin Gaowa, Wu Yujian
Director: Fei Xie
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Family Life
Studio: Knight
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/07/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 46min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Cantonese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Interestin film; DVD version incompetently produced
Asia Film Fan | 02/20/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"The movie "Sesame Oil Woman," loosely and not quite correctly translated from the Chinese title, is an interesting and engaging story centered upon the conflicting roles of women in China. This edition however is deeply marred and flawed through the sheer technical incompetence of the U.S. distribution company, China Century Entertainment. Problems range from subtitles that drift down and off the screen so as to be unreadable to incorrect translations plague this DVD.

Were these problems from China Century Entertainment unique to this DVD, they might be partially forgiven. But my other experiences with China Century Entertainment are of frustration and irritation. This company apparently introduced itself with a series of Chinese films broadcast on the International Channel, a cable outlet. Most of the films shown on that series had the same technical problems as with Sesame Oil Woman. It is amazing to me that China Century Entertainment would attempt to market these films with obvious technical problems.

Had I known that this film was distributed by China Century Entertainment, I never would have considered a purchase. Nor would I consider purchase of any product distributed by China Century Entertainment."
The cycle of misery continues!
Rizzo | Denver, CO | 10/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

This is a modern Chinese movie but unlike a big city modern, it focuses on a village near the Souls Lake. Legend is that two 17-year olds girls drowned in the lake over lost loves and were transformed into beautiful birds.

A middle-age strong-willed woman struggles to keep her sesame oil business operating. Her business is about to thrive when the Japanese want to invest.

But her home life is darkened. She has an abusive alcoholic husband, an epileptic - retarded son, Dunzi; a younger daughter; and, she is having an affair with her husband's brother. The affair isn't great after when she perceives that her lover sees her as a concubine.

To relieve some burden, the mother arranges a marriage of her son Dunzi to a young girl Haunhuan who was smitten by one of her employees, thus she buys the employee out of Haunhuan's life so she is free t marry her son. This marriage, too, turns ugly. And the mother soon sees her own life in the life of the young girl. And as the darkness in their lives continues, and we are constantly reminded of the lake and it's symbolic meaning.

This DVD has its problems. One, at times the subtitles seem to get cut off and become barely readable. Second, when darkness is on the village, it is very difficult to see. Otherwise, this award winning film is quite interesting. ....MzRizz
Great film, DVD OK ... played on computer or flat panel TV
avoraciousreader | Somewhere in the Space Time Continuum | 06/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I found this DVD, I was ecstatic. The VHS version, "Women from the Lake of Scented Souls" is one of my favorite films (see my review there Women From the Lake of Scented Souls), a devastating classical tragedy set in modern China. Unfortunately, the VHS production is terrible, both quality and subtitles.

Although it has problems, the DVD is much superior to the VHS. Alas, the transfer from film does not show the (we assume) excellent cinematography to its best advantage. Many scenes are either washed out with sunlight, or obscure blue-lit night. Nonetheless, much better than the VHS. I was able to make it more watchable on my TV by fiddling with the brightness and contrast controls to extreme levels. On two computers (regular and flat panel screens), the image was mostly good at normal settings. ("Good" in relative terms -- acceptable to nice.)

The previous reviewer notes that the subtitles are cut by the bottom of the screen. This is true when watching with a DVD player and TV. (Regular CRT TV, at least; I wonder if a flat panel TV might show the subtitles, since the edge of the screen isn't covered.) [Added note: my CRT TV fried, I got a (wide screen) LCD TV, and the subtitles are just fine on that.] But when played on a computer, the full screen is visible, including the subtitles. Below the film image (when more than one line is needed they begin in the image), the subtitles are clear and crisp, mostly against a black background and easily visible even when within the film frame. Although I don't speak Mandarin, so can't say how close it is to the original, the translation seems better than the VHS one -- at least it tracks the conversation and makes sense, even though it's awkward and the translator seems marginally fluent in English. Remember, when talking about subtitles for anything other than a handful of major releases of Asian films, we're shooting at a pretty low standard.

Please don't be put off by these minor problems -- this is a great and memorable film, and the DVD is at least serviceable, BUT IT MAY NOT WORK ON AN OLD STYLE CRT TV.

Incidentally, I've viewed a few other China Century releases, and though the DVDs were not great most were, again, "serviceable", even on DVD player/ CRT TV setup. One or two others had the same subtitle problem.

Also, the reason this is not cross-indexed with "Women from the lake..." is that here Amazon uses correct order of the director's Chinese name, Xie Fei, while for Xie's other films they use reverse order, Fei Xie.

Update: I actually contacted China Century, and they replied that they are aware of the problem and trying to find a fix. It has to do with conversion from PAL to NTSC formats. It's too bad they didn't wait for this fix before distributing the DVD>"
Women tough it out.
Doro | 03/20/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I would give this 4 stars but for the technical problem that made many of the subtitles impossible to read.
The cinemamatography is lovely. The story is grand: a smart woman survives. However, the denouement is a bit of a flop. The daughter-in-law will follow in the mother-in-laws footsteps if she is smart/lucky enough, and life goes on. However, it could have been underscored that with an education, the bastard daughter might break the chain of oppression. She is left out of the solution. The oil maker plays the part superbly and has a beauty appropriate to the role."