Book Tickets

Fri 26 Jul
Sun 04 Aug
Mon 19 Aug

The Story of Qiu Ju 12A

Part of Zhang Yimou: A Retrospective
Zhang Yimou, China, Hong Kong, 1992, 100m.

The screening on 26 July will be introduced by Chris Berry (KCL).

Following his trilogy of highly aesthetic folk fables (Red Sorghum, Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern), Zhang Yimou made a sharp pivot to a style grounded in realism with the Golden Lion winning The Story of Qiu Ju. Gong Li (who else?) stars in the title role as the pregnant wife of a farmer, seeking justice from local and regional authorities after her husband is assaulted by the village chief. What ensues is a powerful test of willpower, where Qiu Ju must confront the bustle of a modern city (this is Zhang’s first contemporary set picture), and the absurd - if not intentionally unhelpful - bureaucracy of the legal system.


Assisted by what is arguably Li’s greatest performance, Zhang demonstrates a keen interest in the lives of working people, an ambivalence toward systems of law and power, and a caution against single minded revenge. Those used to the gilded surfaces and theatricality of his earlier films may be surprised at the emotional depth of this sympathetic portrayal of a woman’s personal odyssey.  

Gong Li, Liu Peiqi, Liuchun Yang

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