Preeminent Chinese director Zhang Yimou ventures onto contemporary terrain for the first time with this lovingly detailed, gently satirical tale of a country woman's campaign to seek redress for a minor grievance. Star Gong Li delivers a meticulously scaled performance in a daringly
Qiu Ju (Gong Li) is a pregnant farm laborer driven to seek justice when the village elder, Shantung (Lei Laosheng), kicks her husband (Liu Peiqi) in the groin after the husband has mocked the elder over his inability to sire a son. After being assured by the village apothecary that her husband is
not permanently damaged, Qiu Ju demands an apology from the culprit. Shantung dismisses her semi-articulate request, moving Qiu Ju to visit the local magistrate, Officer Li (Ge Zhijun). Li acts as a mediator between the two parties, suggesting that Shantung pay 200 yuan for lost labor and medical
expenses. Shantung agrees, but refuses to apologize; he further insults Qiu Ju by throwing the money on the ground so she will have to bow to him to pick it up. Qiu Ju's crusade then leads her far from her village, through increasingly labyrinthine bureaucracies, developing a momentum of its own
that eventually proves disastrous for one of the characters.
Using real settings and, in some cases, real people interacting spontaneously with Gong Li as a hidden camera records the action, Zhang gives his film a distinctly documentary feel. Yet much of QIU JU plays almost like a Preston Sturges farce in which an ordinary person's quest for justice is
taken to comical extremes. Along the way, Zhang provides a rich, lively tapestry of modern Chinese daily life and a powerful warning about what can happen when the traditional process of saving face is neglected.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: PG
- Review: Preeminent Chinese director Zhang Yimou ventures onto contemporary terrain for the first time with this lovingly detailed, gently satirical tale of a country woman's campaign to seek redress for a minor grievance. Star Gong Li delivers a meticulously scale… (more)