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Hibiscus Town

Director: Xie Jin (1986)

Hibiscus Town, a feature film directed by Xie Jin, shows the change of fortunes of several ordinary people in a small town before and after the Cultural Revolution. The film approaches the origin of the ultra-left ideology and deals with national history through portraying the characters' distorted and alienated individualities.

Hibiscus Town is a simple town surrounded by beautiful scenery. Kindhearted and pretty Hu Yuyin sells a local variety of bean curd made from rice. She works hard and lives frugally together with her husband Guigui. As a result, they save some money and finally manage to build a new house. However, this new house brings them trouble. During the "four clean-ups" movement of 1964, they are classified as new rich peasants. Their house is confiscated, and Guigui is driven to suicide.

Later, during the Cultural Revolution, Hu Yuyin is sentenced to sweep the streets every day together with the Rightist Qin Shutian, who is known as a "madman". They help each other and gradually fall in love. However, misfortunes never come singly. Qin is sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, and Hu Yuyin almost dies during a difficult labor. After the Cultural Revolution, the couple is cleared of crimes and begins a new life.

In 1987, the film won the Best Feature Film Prize and other prizes at the Seventh Golden Rooster Awards and the Grand Prix at the 26th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in Czechoslovakia.

(chinaculture.org January 19, 2004)


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